After having become known as "that one band with the vibraphone," Aloha continues to throw tons of other toys into the fray on their sophomore LP, including piano, synthesizers, and extra percussion. The ten songs on Sugar are somewhat of a new direction for the band. This is seen partially in the lack of the free jazz that so enveloped the last full-length, That's Your Fire. Much of Sugar contains a more '70s pop/rock feel, with a large, full range of instruments to back it up. With the use of the synths and piano and an unconventional approach to songwriting -- yet speaking to a primarily indie rock audience -- the approach may be hard for many to appreciate. Yet there's a flow to the album that makes it almost seem effortless and the end arrives too soon. While not a comfortable, relaxed listen, Sugar is by no means grating; rather, it takes a concentrated, sensitive ear to catch all that makes this a deeper album than the average slop too many listeners are inoculated with. Many bands seek to reinvent themselves with each release, and Aloha has certainly accomplished as much with Sugar.
by Kurt Morris