BY JEREMY HAAS
Sugarland is the trendy country-pop duo of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush. Sugarland saw their first commercial success in 2004 with hit single “Baby Girl”. Since then they’ve made three more studio albums, won a Grammy for their song “Stay” and had their album Twice the Speed of Life go platinum. Sugarland’s fourth album The Incredible Machine will probably continue their recent success, however, I’d hardly call it “country.”
Sugarland has been known to have pop-influenced music, but this album has taken a completely different direction in an awful way. It feels as though Sugarland put this album together as a collection of filler tracks that sound, for the most part, identical. Of course, The Incredible Machine has slow songs and fast songs, different progressions of their constantly used guitar chords, and two vocal genders. Yet when hearing the entire album, zoning out is inevitable. Bland pop music with a middle-aged woman’s “country” voice is all that’s heard. The album just sounds like it has no heart or soul put into it, and the music was made as fast as the band’s money.
The music itself has some range, with songs that have different genre influences like the track “Stuck Like Glue” being a faster paced, fun, catchy pop song. “Stand Up” actually sounds like country. Even some reggae influences are used in “Every Girl Like Me.” But the songs are all ruined for the most part by Nettle’s repetitive vocals.
There is a song or two that slightly shine on this rather boring album. “Find The Beat” has poppy, new wave bounce to it and is actually a fun song to listen to. “Interlude” sounds like a rock ballad, and is a great song that shows off the talent of Kristian Bush. He definitely has skills that the duo is wasting. More vocals from Bush would make this album much more tolerable.
The Incredible Machine was disappointing at best. Jennifer Nettles’ voice ruins the album. Only a few songs are good and any country influence has almost completely left this band’s music.