Recorded at Blueprint Studios in Manchester, Sukh’s Galactic Love Machine is the 12-track follow-up to his 2013 album Kings, which received critical acclaim from Clash, Louder than War, God is in the TV Zine and more. This release is more pop-oriented and danceable than its predecessor, swapping folk for funk – in parts.
This record harks back to the noughties, shifting between comparisons. ‘Dance On Ice’ is like The Drums nodding to Johnny Marr with one hand on the Hammond. The title track is Damien Rice in part, whereas ‘Hail The Sun’ sounds as if it comes straight from an anonymous house-band in a Hollywood production. Here are my track-by-track notes:
‘Not Far Now’ – A warm opener that breaks with an emotive piano melody working nicely with the vocal. It has a strong chorus and the female accompaniment works very nicely.
‘G.L.M’ – Opens like a My Morning Jacket track, joined by a folkier vocal. Some nice ethereal tones as the track builds to a close with good guitar work and a big synth-party of a final chorus.
‘Flight’ – A great vocal line and harmony bring the track in. Brass at 3.38 takes me to The National’s The Boxer album, though the strings take prominence as the track sprints towards the exit.
‘Dance on Ice’ – The track title says it all really but that doesn’t mean I’ll give it a thumbs down – it’s quite the opposite.
‘Forever’ – A bit too ballad for me. The synth sounds like it’s from the 1986 cult film, Labyrinth, with David Bowie.
‘Hail The Sun’ – A great opening, nicely dealt with too. A big brass-band style hook can usually grow irritating but this one does not. Again, super My Morning Jacket, which marks a victory, for me. The vocals and harmonies are strong throughout.
‘Mystic’ – Grittiest track yet; the vocal production works nicely. Smart melodies and dynamically interesting. I’m a big fan of this one.
‘Diamonds’ – Opens like Coldplay’s ‘Life In Technicolor’ and warms into an early Killers-style track with Damien Rice influences creeping in again. It’s a little slow for me and needs a stronger chorus.
‘My Joy’ – Suited for a reflective drive on a particularly nostalgic route. Quite a gospel feel propelled by an organ; could have gone the whole hog on the harmonies. Great track nonetheless.
‘Revolution’ – Funky riff city with this one, strong horn lines reinforcing the call and response vocal lines. Not quite as big as ‘Hail The Sun’ but it’s a similar vibe. I like it!
‘Something Good’ – The opening riff is summer cider-central, with shorts rolled a bit higher than recommended. The chorus is of festival sing-along calibre, although after the second one I want it to go a little crazier. However the airy feel after an eight-bar interlude is great.
‘Let Me Love You’ – The opening piano line sits well with the vocal, sounding very nineties/noughties British film. I can see Hugh Grant nervously expressing his admiration for this one. Sounds like a real closer for me, later confirmed by the string lines making the choruses shine, with brass adding to the celebration.
In conclusion, this album is an eclectic body of work with some fantastic writing. It’s a joy to sit and listen to. I like my track-by-track notes to be light, but do not confuse my informality with not taking this album seriously. Sukh should be proud of what he’s accomplished on this record, and it was a pleasure to review.
Words by Lewis Abbott