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The Sugar-Free All-Stars-Dos Machos!

Band Name: The Sugar-Free All-Stars
Album Name: Dos Machos!
Best element: Fun. Pure Fun.
Genre: Cake-like Pop/rock
Label name: N/a

Band e-mail:

Sometimes kitsch is not a bad thing at all. Sometimes music is supposed to be unashamed and a little bit over the top. Sometimes you just want to sit back and have fun. Usually, when I get in this mood, I’d slap on Fashion Nugget by Cake, but after hearing Dos Machos by the Sugar-Free All-Stars, they may just have to supplant Cake’s spot as ‘pick-me-up’ music for a while.

The Sugar-Free All-Stars play that type of pop that’s just too fun for emo kids to handle- where Cake has a trumpet to make their music happy and brilliant, The All-Stars have an organ. Yep- an organ. They use it with great abandon, using it anywhere and everywhere, augmenting their sound to its fullest capacity. Its best uses come in “Buddhist in a Beemer”, where a perky organ line is the lead hook for the song, and in the ridiculous “Cornbread”, where the almost-subtle arrangement of the organ (cause honestly, how subtle can an organ be?) saves the song from utter vapidity.

But there are other instruments than organ here on Dos Machos. There are vocals (dry, wry, and perfectly matched to the music), bass (funky, quirky, and owing a great amount of tribute to Cake), and drums (well-matched to the sound- never invasive, but never too quiet or lost in the sound). Notice an absence? That’s right- there’s only occasional guitar on this album, and the great thing is that I didn’t even notice. That’s how well the All-Stars have pulled off a no-guitar band- it took me a look at the credits to realize that there’s a guest guitarist whenever a guitar plays. The sound is so full without it that you just don’t miss guitars. That’s pretty awesome.

“Bender to Ender” is a hilarious ‘roll-your-windows-down-and-sing’ song, with its great lyrics, catchy melody, and awesome bass line. You’ll memorize this one. On a slightly mellower note, “My Key” is great at being a little more melancholy. The keys work brilliantly here, fusing with the vocals to create a great feel for the song.

The All-Stars are hilarious, fun, and unique. This isn’t as fun as Cake’s music (the All-Stars haven’t written a bluegrass song about seatbelts yet), but it will definitely register up near them in the fun scale. I would highly recommend this album to anyone- because sometimes you just have to sit back and let the music keep you afloat.

-Stephen Carradini