In honor of the group's 20th anniversary, the original trio lineup of G. Love & Special Sauce reunited and recorded 2014's Sugar. The band's second album for Jack Johnson's Brushfire Records, Sugar harks back to G. Love & Special Sauce's early lo-fi blues, rap, and soul-influenced sound. Once again featuring the lead vocals and guitar of Garrett Dutton aka G. Love, bassist Jimi "Jazz" Prescott, and drummer Jeffrey "Houseman" Clemens, Sugar was produced by Los Angeles' Robert Carranza. Carranza, who has previously worked with such eclectic acts as Ozomatli, Jack Johnson, Matt Costa, and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, has a knack for capturing a band's live, organic aesthetic, and Sugar is no exception. Together, G. Love and Carranza have crafted an earthy, tasty album that features some of the best songs the trio have ever recorded. There are a few special guests this time out, with Ben Harper and Marc Broussard adding backing vocals to "Nothing Else Quite Like Home," and trumpeter/vocalist Shamarr Allen helps spice up "Weekend Dance #2." Similarly, vocalist Kristy Lee (who appeared in the acclaimed backup singer documentary 20 Feet from Stardom) duets with G. Love on the soulful, old-school R&B number "One Night Romance." However, guest artists aside, the focal point on Sugar is the original trio and the distinctive energy, sound, and musical magic they've produced since their self-titled debut in 1994. Ultimately, whether it's the Southern funk of the title track or the roiling go-go blues of "Saturday Night," as with all of G. Love & Special Sauce's best recordings, the songs on Sugar just stick in your ears.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar