Formed in 1990 by Ben Eshbach (guitar/vocals), Kiara Geller (bass) and Josh Laner (drums), this Los Angeles, California-based band has enjoyed a cult reputation on a par with contemporary US power pop groups such as the Posies and Fountains Of Wayne, although the new wave style of XTC and Wire may be a more accurate comparison.
The crisp instrumentation and melodic snap present on the Sugarplastic’s debut three-single box set Ottawa Bonesaw was the result of the hours the band had spent honing their craft in rehearsal sessions. A contract with the independent label Sugar Fix led to the release of the album Radio Jejune in 1995. While the stylistic indebtedness to late 70s UK bands was readily apparent, there was no doubting the band’s proficiency and the effectiveness of chief songwriter Eshbach’s lyrics. A major label contract with Geffen Records spawned the following year’s Bang, The Earth Is Round, although the record’s inconsistency served to scupper the band’s commercial chances.
The Sugarplastic retreated to independent status following this major label dalliance, and released 2000’s Resin on their Escape Artist label. David Cunningham had replaced Laner in the line-up and the greater freedom on offer allowed the band to indulge their psych-pop tendencies to great effect. The trio has continued to tour and record on an infrequent basis into the early 00s, with new albums and archive material appearing on the Tallboy label.