The Stylus Method – ‘Sugar Plum Mary’ Review

Label: Self-released

Release Date: 16th October 2020

Rating: 8/10

"'Sugar Plum Mary’ finesses the art of achieving so much with so little."

'Sugar Plum Mary' artwork. Credit: The Stylus Method.

Following the release of their debut EP ‘Ready To Roll’ back in May, Leeds-based The Stylus Method are back on the scene with ‘Sugar Plum Mary.’ Fixated on an elusive female character commonly found amongst much of The Beatles’ discography, ‘Sugar Plum Mary’ finesses the art of achieving so much with so little. The vocals go for a more raspy, elusive style than that of ‘Ready To Roll’, with the harmonies adding an equally welcoming layer: there’s clear self-development here.

Lyrically, this track combines McCartney’s simple, yet effective style of narration with Bowie’s other-worldly story-telling techniques, evoking images of spacemen and rocket-building. From witty, punching lines such as “take a ride on a rocket or soar through a cloud of air” to “cut a hole in your dreamcatcher, then you’ll know the truth”, this track oozes character. The brass section appears towards the latter half of the track, as is The Stylus Method style, and is subtly woven in, acting as a smooth blend of rock and roll and jazz.

In an interview with FUZZY back in May, frontman Jordan Frazer described the band as having “an original, sixties-flavoured sound”, which certainly continues to manifest. On musical influences, he added: "Led Zeppelin was the band I first got into big time. I started to get into The Beatles when I was about thirteen, and it sounds so cliché, but it just completely changed my entire outlook on everything."

In just over two minutes, this track accomplishes a great deal: it works harder than the average chart-topper but avoids the pretence many modern-day rock and roll-inspired bands fall captive to.

Words by Eleanor Noyce.

22nd October 2020.