Bubblegum Lemonade - Susan's In The Sky EP

matinée 069  /  September 2008
Bubblegum Lemonade - Susan's In The Sky EP
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Bubblegum Lemonade - Susan's In The Sky EP

matinée 069  /  September 2008

Scottish wonderkids Bubblegum Lemonade debuted early this year with an outstanding single ‘Ten Years Younger’ that earned song of the day honors on influential radio station KEXP and amassed countless positive reviews in the music press including favorable comparisons to influential 60’s popstars (The Velvet Underground, The Monkees, The Byrds) and 80’s indie legends (Jesus and Mary Chain, Razorcuts, Biff Bang Pow!). Before delivering the all important debut album, the band pause for a moment to release a spectacular second EP!

Title track 'Susan's In The Sky' is an everyday tale of an air hostess and her slacker boyfriend caught up in a Romeo and Juliet type scenario. It's another sunshine wall of pop with Rickenbacker guitars, tambourines and nice organ bits. A short dose of California sunshine perfect for all seasons.

Among the EP’s exclusive extra tracks, the cleverly titled ‘Surfin’ USB’ is a proper jangle with fuzzy guitars and a nice Beach Boys coda, while ‘Just Like You’ continues the California theme in a 150 bpm mini classic drenched in Mary Chain feedback with a mix of fuzz and surf guitars. Closing track ‘Holocaust’ is a superb cover of the legendary Big Star classic featuring a mix of Rickenbacker and acoustic guitars.

Once described as “the perfect C86 pop band that just happened to turn up 22 years behind schedule,” Bubblegum Lemonade deliver instantly memorable songs with brilliant pop melodies. ‘Susan’s In The Sky’ is another remarkable success for Matinée and a vibrant reminder of the essential new pop coming out of Scotland. Limited to 1000 copies in custom minijacket sleeve.

  1. Susan's In The Sky
  2. Surfin' USB
  3. Just Like You
  4. Holocaust


The ‘Susan's In The Sky’ EP is the follow up to last years ‘10 Years Younger’ release which saw Bubblegum Lemonade thoroughly nail their colours to the indie pop mast with their songs echoing to the influences of the likes of The Byrds and the Mary Chain. Here the title track is a 1960's influenced track that packs one mean fuzzy guitar punch. If the Beach Boys were a jangle pop band they may have well possibly sounded like this. ‘Surfin USB’ is Jan & Dean updated for the 21st century, riding the crest of the indie pop waves. ‘Just Like You’ is the Mary Chain inspired tune that Glasvegas think they have made but to be honest couldn't do so if they tried in a month of Sundays. It's the EP's must buy moment - a glorious noise comparable to what The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are producing at the moment. Finally Bubblegum Lemonade give way to their influences once more with a cover of Big Star's ‘Holocaust’. Another wonderful example of pop music from the Matinée stable, a label that can do no wrong at present. Buy.   --Indie-mp3.co.uk
I finally met Laz from Bubblegum Lemonade and Strawberry Whiplash last week and he gave me the best present I can think of: the new Matinée ep, cause I was just about to order it. This is exactly the future I could see clearly laid out before me, when I told him he should get a single out almost two years ago. Susan's In the Sky is if possible even better than last year's Ten Years Younger. And I don't know how he's done it! I subconsciously tell myself he couldn't have written these songs himself. But I guess he has, unless Alex Chilton has given him some lost Big Star tunes to go with the cover of "Holocaust". Many people have tried their hands at that composition, but it melts like butter in his. "Surfin' USB" sounds like the Paint Set song that could have followed "Delaware Rain". The new version of "Just Like You" at first seems like a tamer version of a surefire hit, but I'll be damned if I don't think it's cooler when the distorsion fades out at the end. The only conclusion I can draw from all this is that as great as Bubblegum Lemonade was when it seemed like Razorcuts and the Mary Chain reborn, it's even better when it just sounds like Bubblegum Lemonade. This is a hit record with unobvious hits. That will become obvious when you hear it. I won't need to tell him to do a full-length album because it's already been promised by Matinée. I can spot a future classic from months away.   --Heaven Is Above Your Head
Bubblegum Lemonade have chosen (or saddled themselves with) a name that may well have got them lynched in the 80s. It’s not the greatest name ever (unless it’s a tribute to Baby Lemonade and Bubblegum Splash) and seems a little twee. Musically, they are more robust than their moniker would suggest. ‘Susan’s In The Sky’ is a neat slab of catchy 60s inflected guitar pop, mixing a surf feel with the girl group sound and augmented by a fuzzy warm bass, with dumb teenage lyrics such as ‘In the summer we’ll take the long road in your father’s car / In the summer in your father’s car we’ll sleep beneath the stars’. ‘Surfin’ USB’ is a cool revamp of the Marychain’s early surf fixation (‘Kill Surf City’ and their cover of ‘Surfin’ USA), giving the form a West Coast (of Scotland) twist: “Monday morning raining down/Monday’s plans are all at sea/Everyone’s surfin’ USB.” It even has some cool “Woo-ooo-eee-ooo” vocals towards the end. ‘Just Like You’ has a livelier sound with more of an edge to it’s frazzled, fuzzed-out guitars and is my favourite song on the E.P. “Holocaust’ is the latest instalment of Glasgow’s Big Star / Alex Chilton love-in. In its original form it’s one of the bleakest songs ever and Bubblegum Lemonade’s mid-tempo version captures the dark beauty at the heart of the song. With the exception of ‘Holocaust’, no song passes the three-minute mark. Almost perfect pop. However, my only criticism of this E.P. is that the production sounds rather flat and a little lifeless, as though the band were scared to let loose in the studio, that they were so focussed on getting the songs ‘perfect’ that they lost some of their energy and edge. That aside, this is still an enjoyable, fun record.   --Is This Music?
Bubblegum Lemonade have the severe misfortune to have released this at the same time as Northern Portrait's "Napoleon Sweetheart", which no doubt had the effect that all the paparazzi who would otherwise loiter with intent around Bubblegum towers on a weeknight zoomed off to Copenhagen or something. Away from the paps, Bubblegum Lemonade have crafted another lissom title track, but we went for "Just Like You" because, like "Unsafe At Any Speed" off their first ep, it shows how they can be at their best when they corral together those JAMC influences.   --In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times
‘Susan’s in the Sky’ is the second EP from new Scottish outfit, Bubblegum Lemonade, and carries on from their great work on their debut EP, ‘Ten Years Younger'. The title track is a Rickenbacker C-86 jangle pop number and sounds like a combination of the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Primitives. The clever-titled ‘Surfin' USB’ is another track of Rickenbacker heaven and this time nods towards Brian Wilson, It is a song full of Sunday morning dreams. ‘Just Like You’ is full of Jesus and Mary Chain fire and anger. ‘Holocaust’, a cover of the song by Big Star, reworks that track as a slow Rickenbacker pop number and with C-86 charm.   --Pennyblack Magazine
There's a lot of psychedelic pop. As in there are probably too many bands that stumbled upon the sunshine-and-cartoon surrealism version of psychedelic pop we've heard perfected by the Elephant 6 acts and dozens of happy-go-trippy lucky types over the years. If sheer volume is any measure, psychedelic sunshine is pretty easy to craft. It's the drugged-up, sleazy stuff that's a little more difficult to bend to a pop songwriter's will. Bubblegum Lemonade does just that on Susan's in the Sky. The act's second EP picks up on the Jesus and Mary Chain-meets-bedsit pop routine of its predecessor. The act, the project of an enigmatic one-man home-recording Glasweigan known only as Laz, manages to make brain-fried drug benders and sweet pop melodies coexist in a nice and easy balance that makes you wonder why so few of his contemporaries haven't settled upon the formula as well. Firing up the hazy guitar reverb, the atmospheres of an echo chamber submerged at the bottom of the Dead Sea and the simple, '60s-styled beats of JAMC and its followers, Bubblegum Lemonade somehow figures out a way to let the sun shine in on that dreary world. Not quite enough to burn off all the gloomy weird-trip atmospheres, mind you, but just enough to make it evident that there's a lot more wiggle room in the Chain's sound than Black Rebel Motorcycle Club might have led us to believe. Primarily a pop writer, Laz is all hooks and melodies on this EP. Running a Big Star song ("Holocaust") through his heavy-drugs atmosphere lays out the basic premise of Bubblegum Lemonade more perfectly than any detailed description could. The rest of the songs follow that formula. "Surfin' USB" lets jangly guitars cut through the reverb, though vocals are still wrapped up in a big fuzzy psychedelic blanket. "Susan's in the Sky" is all '60s pop, massive reverb and drones that's the best Jesus and Mary Chain song the Reid brothers never recorded, and "Just Like You" has enough messy guitar tones, overlapping drones and atmosphere to gain fans from everything from classic pop to shoegazer without sucking up too much to formula. Don't get Bubblegum Lemonade wrong: There's plenty of pop sunshine on Susan's in the Sky. The band just sets it off with heavy guitar tones and an ear for atmosphere that so many other popsters neglect. There's a lot more than sugarcoated acid drops to psychedelic pop. Be thankful Laz is around to remind us all of that.   --Aversion.com
Glasgow’s Bubblegum Lemonade plays their second EP much like the first: brisk, snappy guitar-pop songs, with an air of the ‘60s but also if the ‘60s via the ‘90s (Teenage Fanclub, Jesus and Mary Chain). Most notable among the four songs are the bookends. A-side “Susan’s in the Sky” is especially sweet and catchy, a summertime promise, a vision of sleeping under the stars. Nice too is how, at the EP’s end, Big Star’s “Holocaust”, one of the bleakest, most damning relationships songs, becomes a lazy-summer pop song. The focus is on the song’s great melody, above all else.   --Erasing Clouds
The Scottish Bubblegum Lemonade will release the follow-up to the brilliant debut “10 Years Younger EP” on Matinée Recordings today, September 1st. The EP is called “Susan’s In The Sky”, and like last time it includes four great popsongs with a high focus on melody and some kind of retro feel. These are very different sounding songs, - from the title track with a great story, and equal parts Beach Boys and Jesus & Mary Chain influences via the beautiful, jangly and harmonic geekly named track “Surfin’ USB” (my favourite) to the darker and even more JAMC inspired “Just Like You” and the great cover of Alex Chilton/Big Star’s “Holocaust”. Bubblegum Lemonade will release his debut album “Doubleplusgood” on Matinée Recordings soon, and after two very fine EP releases, I am really looking forward to this one!   --Eardrums
Bubblegum Lemonade are a bit more me, the lead track off previous EP Ten Years Younger has been one of my most played tracks this year. Again their perfect mix of shoegaze guitars and catchy pop combine to great effect on this lovely four track EP. Susan in the Sky is handy clappy good, Surfing USB is as clever as the title would suggest, Just Like You, rock'n'roll and Holocaust just more of the same great stuff. A pop delight.   --I'd Rather Be Fat Than Be Confused
Susan's in the Sky continues the super-fuzz journey initiated by Bubblegum Lemonade on their excellent debut EP. The four songs on here feel borne from the same cockle of songwriter Laz McCluskey's heart where he keeps his staunchest love of Britpop's lo-fi past. Both the opener and "Surfin' USB" are shot through with the best wryly-bent lyrics of Teenage Fanclub, while the propulsive, thoughtful musicianship brings to mind a tamed-down ode to '70s power pop. "Just Like You" is a bit more punk/new wave and a bit more early Supergrass; it buzzsaws through three chords and adolescent angst. As with the first EP, a cover closes out the disc. This time it's Big Star's "Holocaust," which carries a bit more emotional gravitas than "That Thing You Do!" and McCluskey does its defeated tone proud. There's little in the way of artistic progression between Bubblegum Lemonade's first two musical forays, but anyone who found joy with McCluskey's songwriting the first time around is bound to do the same this time as well.   --Ink 19
The delightful warmth of fuzz pedal and slight feedback welcome you into the title track of this, the second EP from Scottish youngsters Bubblegum Lemonade. You can practically hear the swaying of foppish haircuts on this surf pop gem. Surfin USB is even more gentle and laid back, strolling along in an effortlessly cool way. Just Like You is the best yet, buzzing along delightfully as does the final track, and Big Star cover, Holocaust. They may not have many strings to their bow, but they use them rather well.   --Russell’s Reviews
The titular track of this excellent EP from Bubblegum Lemonade recalls the simplicity and chug of The Jesus & Mary Chain in their lighter moments, gleefully and tastefully winding itself up until we reach a pedestrian (not in a bad way, but a satisfying one) conclusion. The gentle narrative is at odds with many of the darker sentiments and delivered with a suiting sweetness, making this a less intriguing but more wholesome experience, and one the charm of which is colossal. Even better is the following Surfin’ USB (how many bands are kicking themselves for not thinking of that title sooner?) has The Soup Dragons’ lilt and bob, and delivers on all melodic levels. That gentle lilt and bob is irresistible thanks to the opposing motions of its chord structure (down) and the vocal melody itself (up) - an expert trick, and rewarding even if it’s a fluke. Sadly, Just Like You is way dull, but no bother, yeah, because the concluding cover of Big Star’s Holocaust is top, returning the EP to ripping, ravishing and, of course, melodically pleasing form. So three out of four ain’t bad. Susan’s In The Sky is out already on the delightful Matinée label.   --Pop Musicology
Por mucho que algunos agoreros no se cansen de enarbolar como bandera la presunta supremacía del Indie Pop ochentero sobre el actual, lo cierto es que en los últimos años uno no puede más que pellizcarse de asombro y satisfacción por la buena salud de una etiqueta que años atrás parecía estar más que en entredicho. Bien es cierto que aquellos que conocieron de primera mano el Pop independiente de aquellos años puede estimar como sucedáneo su resurgimiento en la actualidad, pero no menos cierto es que las nuevas generaciones pueden sentirse más identificadas con unas bandas que han visto nacer, mientras que admiran en la distancia gloriosos antecedentes que a estas alturas para muchos quedan como protagonistas de la juventud de sus padres. Por aquí nos vemos incapaces (puro sentimentalismo) de encontrar un disco que merezca la pena atesorar con mayor cariño que los vinilos guardados desde nuestra adolescencia, pero del mismo modo no concebimos esta afición de otro modo que no sea el de la ansiosa escucha de novedades que puedan sorprendernos. Muchas son las bondades del Indie Pop actual, pero no podemos negar que la etiqueta alberga alguna que otra flaqueza común a muchos de los grupos que se cobijan bajo su paraguas, y de todas las posibles pegas que podemos encontrar la más notoria quizás sea la de la excesiva obsesión de gran parte de los indie kids actuales por el lado más sensible del Pop, aquel que dominó buena parte de los 80’s, causando “estragos” entre algunos que interpretaron aquella excesiva afección emocional como una especie de guía de vida. Es por ello que a veces echemos de menos que los grupos se remonten un poco más en el tiempo, o que al menos varíen las referencias extraídas de aquellos años. Llegados a este punto parece que Bubblegum Lemonade sea una pequeña respuesta a nuestras plegarias, porque el grupo de Lawrence McLuskey (Laz) nos muestra como es posible componer perfecto Indie Pop alejándose de cualquier rastro de sensiblería formal. A primeros de año Ten Years Younger, su Cd-Ep de debut para Matinée Recordings, sorprendió con un genial combinado que sobre la base de lo que parecía una especie de homenaje a Jesus And Mary Chain recogía y aunaba una variedad de impecables influencias. Las cuatro canciones de aquel pequeño Ep. volaban en un ir y venir constante de recuerdos que tan pronto nos acercaban al inconfundible sonido de las guitarras de los Byrds (The Tomorrow People), como fijaban su atención en la Velvet Underground (Ten Years Younger). Susan’s In The Sky Ep. aparece cuando el año encara su recta final y pretende ser el aperitivo de su Lp de debut, a publicar durante estos días. Como ya sucediera anteriormente el disco nos presenta cuatro nuevos cortes en los que Laz no hace más que plasmar todas sus filias musicales. Susan’s In The Sky abre el disco en tono romántico, con un sonido sesentero donde el las guitarras y el órgano confieren un cierto tono épico que acaba de rematar una especie de homenaje al más famoso muro de sonido que ha existido. Su sonido es totalmente adictivo y resulta una de las mejores piezas compuestas hasta la fecha por Bubblegum Lemonade, aunque seguida muy de cerca por Surfin’ USB, una especie de mixtura entre Beach Boys y Byrds con guitarras fuzz de resultado espectacular que consigue hacer aflorar los recuerdos en nuestra mente de modo constante. Just Like You (uno casi se siente tentado a titular el tema Just Like Honey, como la canción de JAMC) vuelve a dejar patente la devoción de Laz por el sonido de los hermanos Reid, siendo el corte más trepidante, ruidoso, oscuro y divertido del disco empieza a asustar el parecido con la música de sus héroes. Y para finalizar este breve Ep. nos encontramos, como ya sucedía en el anterior disco, con Bubblegum Lemonade manteniendo la sana costumbre de cerrar sus trabajos con la versión de un tema ajeno, si en el pasado fue el That Thing You Do! compuesto por Adam Schlesinger de Fountains Of Wayne, en esta ocasión nos encontramos con la recreación del Holocaust que Alex Chilton compuso para Big Star. Una elección radicalmente distinta e infinitamente más arriesgada que la de su predecesora, al encontrarse esta canción entre las más dolorosamente tristes compuestas por Alex Chilton, una historia de sufrimiento, enfermedad y muerte que Lawrence McLuskey consigue llevar a su terreno, liberándola parcialmente (la letra permanece inalterada) de la infinita angustia de la pieza original. En estos días verá la luz el flamante Lp de debut de Bubblegum Lemonade, disco que a la vista de los méritos que tanto este Susan’s In The Sky como el pasado Ten Years Younger atesoran, resulta escucha obligada en un año en el que este escocés obsesionado con la música de los 60’s a los 80’s se posiciona como una de las más frescas novedades que han llegado a nuestros oídos.   --360º de Separación