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Sugargliders: A Nest with a View 1990-1994

Reviewed By: Mark Rowland
Label: Matinee Recordings
Format: CD

In the early 21st century, I used to spend a lot of time on eBay, trying to get a hold of all those hard-to-find 7” singles that I wanted to add to my collection. At the time, I was listening almost exclusively to old-school British indie pop, twee pop and bands in the so called C-86 movement, so it should come as no surprise when I tell you that I had some “favourite searches” added to my eBay account.

One of those favourites were Sarah Records, a now legendary indie label, based in Bristol. They released exactly 100 records (and a game, too!) from 1987 to 1995, and quite soon a special “Sarah-sound” began to take form, with bands like the Field Mice, Another Sunny Day, the Orchids, Blueboy and Brighter. I liked most of these bands, especially the Field Mice (when they made mid-tempo songs - I really didn’t care a lot for their slow ones) and Another Sunny Day, whose singles I spent several pounds on back in those days. But there were several bands on the label that I never bothered to check out, as I thought that they were just too boring.

One of these was the Australian duo the Sugargliders. Based around brothers Josh and Joel Meadows, they managed to release ten singles and one album during the four years they existed, some of these on the Sarah label, but also on the Australian label Summershine. Then they changed the name to the Steinbecks, and have continued to put out records every now and then (the next one is scheduled for release in the spring of 2013).

So, as I was more or less a sceptic before I listened to this compilation (compiling the singles and assorted other tracks from their entire career) – what do I think now? Well. Let me put it to you this way: I don’t regret skipping their singles while shopping on eBay. But at the same time, it wasn’t as dull as I thought. Sure, there are a lot of songs here that I will definitely skip when listening to it in the future, but there are also some really good songs on there. And I was a bit surprised to find out from the sleeve notes that Tali White, who sang with the fabulous Lucksmiths, is in fact cousin to the Meadows brothers! Australia, apparently, isn’t bigger than that. But the fact is that Josh actually sounds a bit like his cousin when he sings, which is a good thing.

If you like the Field Mice and Brighter, for example, I really recommend this 20-track compilation. If you have no idea how those bands sound, imagine some slow indie pop with a lot of keyboards thrown in. Sounds good? Well, buy it! Now!

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