Striding onstage to an intro tape of James Brown’s ‘It’s A Man’s World’ you do feel that Essex’s nu-metal saviours Sugarcoma (three girls, male drummer) are maybe labouring whatever point it is they’re trying to make. And with irony neither being the most concise or damaging instrument of attack – especially within metal, a genre renowned for its misappropriation of the term – it is painful to watch Sugarcoma, halfway through the set, grind their way through a fairly pointless Britney Spears cover. If what they’re telling us is: the music industry is a patriarchy, teen pop idols are factory-made wank dolls and that real Girl Power isn’t about Union Jack dresses and his n hers sarongs, but the reclamation of female space and identity from media-centric ideology and contrived notions of femininity… then these are admirable - if overused and occasionally overwrought – sentiments, but you’d feel more comfortable with the whole thing if they just got back to doing what they do best. Tearing the competition apart with their teeth and lashing out at their detractors like baby lionesses with razor blades for claws.

Because if any of these shenanigans are an attempt to add substance to an identity that some have labelled a triumph of hype and image, it should be said that they are blatantly unnecessary. Frontwoman Jessica Mayers, flanked by blonde Ice Maidens (tm Hilary Woods) Heidi and Claire, is fascinating. A true star emerging and one that doesn’t need to use clichés as crutches. Right now the Kittie comparisons are still evident and, in part, valid. Their age (16-17) frequently betraying their influences and lack of experience, but to their credit they’ve pared everything down with an icy sleekness. Tense, highly-strung teen anthems like ‘Blisters’ and ‘Bed Of Dolls’ flickering between tenacious cool and ventricle-bursting, lung-swallowing blasts of noise. As long as the attention they’ve garnered doesn’t kill them by their first album, Sugarcoma will definitely be ones to watch.











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