Generally, when you see an artist who starts a new side project it is a carbon copy of their previous work, however, Nic Cester’s debut solo album ‘Sugar Rush’ (out in the UK on the 27th of July) seems to explore various different musical avenues. These new, more exciting sounds, are a modern contrast to the style shown in his time as front-man of the Australian rock band Jet (famous for songs such as “Are you gonna be my girl”). This solid rock vibe which had been the mainstay of the band's 3 albums was undoubtedly popular, and undeniably infectious, yet its aim was not to create anything new. Yet Cester seems to be reinvigorated with musical passion, declaring his wish to “challenge myself to find a new way to express myself musically”. With psychedelic and electro-pop influences, his solo venture certainly achieves this and it builds for an impressive record.
The opening song on the album, and title track “Sugar Rush” is a clear sign of the different sounds and flexibility of the artist, but is still probably one of the closest to the familiar Jet sound. Offering a steady groove similar to The Black Keys, he instantly hooks you in with a catchy chorus and fuzzy guitars which ease those Jet fans into the new project . The new experimentation really starts after delving further into the album in the single “Psichebello”, which was recently named track of the day by ‘This Feeling’. This single is another big highlight of the album which shows a softer side to the front man’s vocals whilst also demonstrating his talent for arrangement with an abstract instrumental breakdown (complimented by a spectacular visual experience in the video below). It is a prime example of the change of style that Cester has incorporated into his solo material.
Other songs such as lead single “Eyes on the Horizon”, which is a breath of fresh air in the album, demonstrates the real strength of Cester’s voice as he exudes some soul into the track. This song must be on the soundtracks for the summer months. The deep, hypnotic rhymes seem to be a perfect fit for a summer playlist. The track that caught us by surprise the most is the use of the interlude “On top of the World” which is effective in its showcasing of its emotion despite only lasting just over a minute and it fulfills it’s function as the song which breaks up the album directly into two halves. Perhaps a sign that Cester is paying close attention to how the album will sit as an audible experience on vinyl...a strong positive from our point of view.
Cester’s ability to flirt with multiple genres and influences in his development of the album shows some serious potential as a solo artist as this album has ultimately become possibly one of the most intriguing indie rock albums of the year. This rebirth of his career also seems to be gaining momentum with Jet’s current worldwide tour ("Get Reborn") to commemorate their 15th anniversary of their debut album. With all this happening so soon, it should feed all Cester fans with huge excitement as it appears that he is himself ‘Re-born’ and has returned to offer a whole host of innovative creations in his solo work.