Sugar & Gold

Get Wet!

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Sugar & Gold’s second album can be broken down into 75 percent wild party jams and 25 percent melancholy after-party comedowns. The San Francisco group, masterminded by the duo of PAM and PAINLESS, draws from all sorts of influences to come up with Get Wet!'s sound. There’s plenty of disco and post-disco, electro-pop, early-'80s digital R&B, and frothy synth pop in the mix along with bubbling synths, handclaps, vocoders, falsettos, and cowbell. The group manages the feat of sounding completely retro on tracks like “Sneek Freq,” which could have been a single for Ready for the World, and “Temptation/Fascination,” which sounds like a Wham! album track while still sounding contemporary. On songs like the subdued but driving “It’s All Over You” and the glittery “Salty Seraphim,” the group comes over as a cross between LCD Soundsystem and Scissor Sisters. With the comparisons coming from every direction, it’s important to know whether Sugar & Gold have enough personality to escape being a mere imitation. Luckily, they do. It’s in the care they put into the details of the arrangements, the soul they put into the grooves, and the surprisingly good vocals -- surprising because the singing comes off at first as a little too weedy to carry the songs, but about halfway through, something clicks and the vocals really start to work. Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of the thin vocals with the rich and full music that gives what could have been an academic exercise a real beating heart. Or maybe it’s just that the songs all sound great booming out of car speakers! Either way, Get Wet! ends up being a very good dance-pop record that should please those who like a little bit of brains in their mindless good times.

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