By the time ‘The Final Confessions Of Mabel Stark’ drew the Scottish trio’s debut, ‘Random Acts Of Intimacy’, to a breathtaking finale, it was obvious that Scotland had once again delivered the goods. Joining the same circle of well received bands like Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad and Broken Records, Sucioperro arrived as a triumphant whirlwind of big guitars and pop melodies, a distant cousin of sorts to fellow Ayrshire men Biffy Clyro.
This momentum was carried over to the band’s brooding second album ‘Pain Agency’, yet 2011’s lighter ‘The Heart String And How to Pull It’ bucked this trend to a degree, the band choosing to slow down and take stock rather than plough furiously ahead with their musical master plan. Released on their own Medals For Everyone label, Sucioperro, now a five-piece thanks to the addition of Hooligan Sadikson and Gordon Love, have refocused their efforts on this fourth long player, lending the album a deliberately leaner, more direct approach to their craft.
The most startling aspect of ‘Fused’ is just how much fuller a sound they have on show here. The new additions to the team have helped the former threesome flex their musical muscle over the album’s twelve tracks, none more so apparent than on the heavy metal thrash of opener ‘A River Of Blood’ and the punkish throb of ‘To Nothing’. The band, seemingly having feasted squarely on a diet of heavy metal since their third full-length, are equally bullish on the F-bomb friendly ‘What A Fucking Chump’, whilst ‘Where At Dat Wild At’ show they have lost none of their sense of humour.
Heavier than anything they’ve written before, and leaner in the literal sense - two tracks are more intervals than songs outright - means not only do most tracks stay safely under the three minute mark, but the whole album flashes past in a brutishly enjoyable 30 minutes. There’s little room for filler on an album that is as direct and immediate as ‘Fused’, indeed the only minor criticism is that the band don’t always allow their songs to run their full course, such is their pre-occupation with devastatingly succinct delivery.
The sludge metal riffs of ‘Pig Ravens’ for example, would doubtless benefit from an encore to its nightmarish crescendo of drums instead of prematurely ending at the two minute mark, yet equally this must be a compliment to a band who are happy to make listeners want more.
This is Sucioperro’s most consistent album to date, not that any of their previous albums or EPs have ever been below par, but there is a brash confidence that permeates throughout ‘Fused’. It comes infuriatingly close to brilliance on several occasions, yet isn’t quite there yet, the band’s less-is-more ethos proving to be the only slight disappointment in what is otherwise an assured piece of work.
Their decision to move away from the more palatable sound that has made some of their Scottish compatriots appeal to a mainstream audience is commendable for a band who, in doing so, finally sound so complete. Rejuvenation of such a degree must surely merit some well-earned recognition that up until now has been reserved for those aforementioned peers.