Bebe Buell: Sugar

The first studio offering in 10 years sees Bebe Buell back and better than ever. Her 12-song disc takes me back to the days of Max’s Kansas City and Gildersleeves. There’s even a nod to Joey Ramone (Black Angel) and a Johnny Thunders tune here. And while many incorrectly think that Buell was best known as a jet setting playmate, her musical history shows her playing with the most influential bands of the day. Those punk rock big boys taught her invaluable writing secrets that she’s carried into her current style.

The overall feel of the CD is New York street tough with an ‘80s revivalist edge. Produced by Twinomatick’s Jim Wallerstein from Das Damen (whose EP was released by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore) as well as Bobby Rae—also well versed in trade (Spear Of Destiny, Killing Joke’s Raven and others), the disc flirts with everything from down and dirty punk to the techno tinged title track. Buell’s dusky voice is well suited and comfortable within these tracks, telling a story and keeping the listener drawn in fast.

Outstanding mention goes to the song “When We Were Godhead,” a composition with the catchiest intro piece of the year, launching Buell into her introspective story of the days of the bona fide rock and roll kings and queens.

This CD is the real deal by a genuine prodigy of punk rock pioneers. Sugar takes chances and stands out bold in an industry that sorely needs to return to the rock and roll direction that I’ve heard here today.

In A Word: Classic