An impressive blend of genres
In December, Sugarplum Fairies released their tenth album, Altar Songs 1998-2021. Silvia Ryder is the European vocalist behind Sugarplum Fairies. Their music encompasses a variety of styles, from pop to indie rock. This album shows off her abilities in each style by including songs that incorporate many genres and discuss various topics, from heartbreak and loss to motivation and love.
“Velcro Girl,” the second track of the album, begins with some rhythm guitar that gains distortion quickly as the drums join in and the song builds up. The steady rhythm that drives the song creates a high-energy sound and a sense of anger that matches the theme of the lyrics. Ryder sings about a love interest in a relationship with someone else. The angst and frustration in the lyrics pair perfectly with the distorted guitar and driving drums.
The following track, “Heart Hell 2021” (featuring Sid Simons), has a more relaxed sound. With subtle guitar and bass sitting behind the vocals, the soothing melody creates a relaxing feeling to the song. This song is also about a broken heart but takes on a different perspective and tone, one of sadness and pain. The pain in her voice and the soothing accompaniment of strings and gentle drums create this tone.
The fourth track, “A Story,” takes on a different sound. Layered guitars covered in effects create a rhythmic wall of sound. The lyrics float over the melody and fit well into the mix, creating an easy listen and a soft indie-pop sound. The different sounds and styles presented on the first few tracks of the album show the Sugarplum Fairies’ ability to incorporate different sounds and styles and discuss topics across the board from different perspectives.
“Malta Smile 55” takes on a similar sound to “Velcro Girl” with driving drums and heavily distorted electric guitar. It manages to maintain a more relaxed sound with a smooth melody and sentimental lyrics, like “it is what it is.” With this track, they create a high-energy song that has a positive message. The instrumental adds to the positive vibe as the song continues, with horns joining in during the chorus. This is a happy song that emanates positivity.
The eighth track, “Sandy Says 2021,” transitions back to a more tranquil sound. With echoing guitar in the background and hollow drums, space is created for the lyrics and vocals to shine through. Sid Simons joins them again on this track. The harmonies during the chorus highlight the smooth and relaxed melody. Their voices blend to create a reassuring sound that matches well with the lyrics, which describe a character named Sandy as she reassures someone who is struggling.
The tenth track, “Dedeaux Fields,” starts with the distant sound of a lullaby or something similar to one. As it grows louder, a tranquil acoustic guitar joins in. The vocals are smooth and laid back. Heavier accompaniment joins in during the chorus, but the song maintains a relaxed sound with a slow rhythm and lyrics about dreams. This newer sound once again shows the Sugarplum Fairies’ ability to incorporate different sounds and styles throughout their album.
On Altar Songs 1998-2021, they include many different styles and topics, showing their writing and production abilities across a range of topics and sounds. They include styles that combine indie, pop, rock, alternative and EDM elements. This allows them to show off their abilities as a writer and producer in many genres. Because of the variety of styles and topics explored on this album, Sugarplum Fairies is able to prove their versatility as a writer, producer, artist and singer.