McFadden’s Parachute – Sugar 3 (2015)

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Sugar 3, the latest offering from McFadden’s Parachute — aka Darren Brennessel — is another lo-fi affair, but this time the prolific Rochester, N.Y. one-man band offers all-original material after his inspired 2012 album of 1960s garage band covers, Flashback to My Home Town.

McFadden’s Parachute makes use of improvisational modal tuning on his acoustic guitar throughout Sugar 3, adding some fuzz-tone guitar added for color, minimal percussion and caveman drumming — but, strangely, there’s no bass guitar at all. It’s a similar approach, in some ways, to Darren Brennessel’s other two-man band, the LSD Enigma.

The fuzz-rocking opener “A Simple Man” is this album’s best song, a catchy enough little ditty that could’ve been a Buffalo Springfield outtake. Ragged but right, the chugging ‘I Can’t Seem to Get It Right” also wouldn’t have sounded too out of place in Neil Young’s earliest live repertoire with Crazy Horse back in 1969. “My Mary Jane,” another fuzz rocker, could be an ode to a lost love or could it be to a particular herbal mixture? I’ll let you decide, gentle readers.

Perhaps the oddest song on the new McFadden’s Parachute album is the ballad “Robin Gibb is Dying.” Being released now after the Bee Gees legend’s passing, it draws somewhat on their influence for a little bit of the melody, as with its theme of loss. “When The Night Falls,” a psych/folk number, closes out Sugar 3 with some actual vocal fanfare, and a campfire-like sing along feel.

McFadden’s Parachute uses a recording approach in the lo-fi realm similar to solo albums by Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices. Both captures the spontaneity of a performance, but Darren Brennessel adds in a terrific 1960s garage-rock feel. Check him out.

Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott has written for Shindig, Twist and Shake, Garage & Beat and Ugly Things. A big fan of all things rock and roll - especially the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelic, new wave, folk rock, surf and power pop - he was a consultant on Sundazed Music's reissue of 'The Best of Butch Engle & The Styx: No Matter What You Say' in 2000, and has also provided liner notes for Italy's Misty Lane Records. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Steve Elliott
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