In the ’70s, punk music was all about rebellion. But in the ’90s, the genre became flaccid with the mainstream popularity of bands like The Offspring and an influx of Blink-182 clones, which marginalized music for profit.
While Sugarcult falls into the category of soft pop punk music, its adult themes make the band more worthy than some of its predecessors.
Heavy touring helped elevate the band past the underground and into MTV’s buzz.
Sugarcult has played more than 400 concerts, performing with punk rock favorites such as Rancid, The Ataris and Unwritten Law. Last year’s stint on Warped Tour was well received and led to a headlining gig at this year’s festivities.
After some recent lineup changes, Sugarcult’s current roster is frontman Tim Pagnotta, guitarist Marko 72, bassist Airin Older and newcomer Kenny Livingston on drums.
Pagnotta started the group in 1998, copping the band name from lesbian neighbors who called themselves “The Sugarcult.”
Keeping in mind its knack for raising hell — the members of the band were once arrested in Time Square for car surfing on top of an RV — the band’s performance should be entertaining.
Sugarcult is currently on tour supporting its new album, Palm Trees and Power Lines. Eliciting images of a sunny California skyline, the album is a songbook of Pacific-coast fantasies.
This release follows 2001’s Start Static, which sold nearly half a million copies worldwide. SS spawned three minor hits: “Bouncing Off the Walls, “Pretty Girl (The Way),” and “Stuck in America.”
Palm Trees opens with “She’s the Blade,” a catchy but lyrically weak tune about shattered love.
“Memory” is the first single off the new album. It is currently on rotation on alternative radio stations nationwide. The track’s mood isn’t as dramatic as most of the other songs on the record, making it one of Palm Tree’s most enjoyable tracks.
Drug use and binge drinking haunt “Champagne,” a song that deviates from Sugarcult’s pop-punk style. The cocaine-induced dreamscape pulls from many genres of music and results in a dark and depressing tune.
Although the song is quite good, its theme might be too mature for the band’s target audience, the under-18 crowd.
With nuances between playfulness and depth, Sugarcult is a pop-loving alternative to today’s mainstream punk rock.
Sugarcult plays State Theater on Sunday. Tickets are $14. Doors open at 7pm.