Haulin' Grass & Smokin' Ass

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Haulin' Grass & Smokin' Ass Review

by Mark Richardson

After a series of spotty 7-inch singles and cassette releases, Sukpatch further developed their distinctive sound on Haulin' Grass and Smokin' Ass. The twee pop underground had been firmly established by Beat Happening and other bands revolving around K Records in the Pacific Northwest long before Sukpatch's arrival. But Sukpatch brought a funky hip-hop sensibility, and fused these appropriated sounds from the street with seemingly incompatible bedroom pop. The formula for each Sukpatch song is simple: drums inspired by hip-hop and assembled on a cheap sampler; thick Casio keyboards that owe something to British new wave; and engaging melodies sung with a relaxed tone. Adding another wrinkle to the sound, all of the above is assembled at home on a four-track cassette recorder, which lends a charming, homemade quality to the proceedings. Taken together, Haulin' Grass and Smokin' Ass is an extremely engaging and fun record, and an original one to boot. "Flock-Sultan" is punchy drone pop, not all that far from where Stereolab was a few years earlier (though much more lo-fi). "Smooth Guys (American Mix")" seems inspired by Depeche Mode circa 1982, with a lazy sampled backbeat taking place of the lock-step drum machine. It's true that there is a certain "sameness" to Sukpatch's sound, but when each individual song on Haulin' Grass and Smokin' Ass is so compelling, indie pop fans won't mind a bit.

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