Your favourite powerpop group Sugar Stems are back with their second longplayer! Switching from Austrian to German labels after a couple of singles on Certified PR, Can’t Wait now drops on Screaming Apple. Featuring both of their recent a-sides, it’s an incredibly solid piece of work. The first album Sweet Sounds of… had a couple of tracks that were just unstoppable – I’m thinking of “I Gotta Know” and “Crybaby” – but fell just short of matching that quality throughout. Now they’ve raised the bar, upped the fidelity slightly and reined in some of the most careening songs. There’s one moment on the LP when they shine as brilliantly as The Innocents or The Shivvers ever did. “Love You to Pieces” is the penultimate song and a gorgeous midtempo number with one of those guitar solos that lead into a key change, before settling into yet another key for the last few bars. But almost every single song serves up a strong chorus, and melodies that would make Blondie proud parents and Jackie DeShannon a proud grandmother. Other standouts include the chugging title track and the organ-driven “Make Up Your Mind”. The release party is next month, but you can already order a copy from Soundflat if you can’t make that. Listen to “Magic Act” below.

Magic Act

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