Music Review – Foreign Lands

Artist: First You Get The Sugar
Album: Foreign Lands

I first came across the band First You Get The Sugar while I was driving home after writing an exam last November. Typically, when I hear a band on the radio and try to make a mental note to look them up, I usually end up forgetting. But there was something about their song “Foreign Lands” that stuck in my head. I attentively listened to the radio announcer as he broadcast the name of the band, willing myself to remember to look them up when I got home. Then the announcer on the radio said that not only were they an indie band from Montreal, but, at that time, they were offering their latest album for free on their website. As soon as I got home I ran to my computer, downloaded Foreign Lands, and listened to it several times over. I knew instantly that I wanted to write a review of this album and share this wonderful band with as many people as I could.

First You Get The Sugar was formed in 2008 by Adam Kagan, Mick Mendelsohn, Daniel Moscovitch, and Alex Silver. Although the band is classified as rock, when I asked Daniel about the band’s musical influences, he said “From Rock to Jazz, Hip Hop, Electronica, big-time, indie, you name it. There is even some actual Mozart tucked away on our first record.” When asked about the genre of music they play, Daniel went on to say that when it comes to being classified a specific genre, they are “more concerned with the original, deep, important work in each genre than the genres themselves. In the end, we are a rock band, but we draw from all that is out there.” Each song on their latest album is different and it is difficult to pinpoint the exact genre, but if you are a fan of visionary lyrics, heart-melting vocals, atmospheric drums, pulsating bass, and clever guitar riffs, then be sure to check out Foreign Lands, which can be streamed on the band’s website or purchased on iTunes.

The title track “Foreign Lands” is easily my favourite song on this album, but the song “Point Reyes” is definitely a close second. Both songs have profound lyrics that are not only pleasant to listen to, but touch on deep emotions that are not often explored in music. Adding to the obvious ingeniousness of this band is the drums and bass in both songs. I find that it is the drums that set the mood and enhance the expressive bass. In “Foreign Lands” the drums add an almost threatening air to the song, with the bass hauntingly predominant throughout. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the intimate drums that create a homelike atmosphere in “Point Reyes”, which is carried by the soft roll of the bass.

Overall, the entire album is magnificent, and I could easily fill several pages describing what I like about each song. So if you are looking for an inspiring Canadian band to listen to, one that defies genres and creates music that touches the soul, be sure to check out First You Get The Sugar.

Samantha Stevens is an aspiring writer who loves combining her love for literature with photography, painting, music, and all creative pursuits.