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Sugar Plant, "Dryfruit"

Was it worth paying the expensive amounts for shipping from Japan? No.Does this album deserve a worldwide release? Yes. Sugar Plant is one ofthe world's premiere technologically-friendly dream pop combos.'AfterAfter Hours,' and the 'Happy'/'Trance Mellow' EP releases havesolidified their places as world-class dreamsters. Unfortunately notenough people were paying attention and the World Domination label justwasn't powerful enough to do the right job for the band. 'Dryfruit' isessentially the duo's third full-length album and was first released intheir homeland of Japan in February of 2000. A release on the Germanlabel, Shibuyahot has been promised for a long while but I sure as hellhaven't seen it yet. Over the years, Sugar Plant's music has gone froma rock-based sound, through an almost shoe-gazing phase (which washighly remeniscent of the quieter Velvet Underground moments), and intoa serene, more electronically embracing period. Now it seems the duohave molded into an almost soft-rock phase, with more lyrics and less"ooohs," lots of organs and more guitar melodies that have replacedfrequently strummed chords. While I do seriously enjoy this album, it'shard for me to actually get a charge out of it like I did from thefirst seconds of the now classic aforementioned releases. It's almost abit too soft and misses the elements which used to completely put me ina trance. The packaging is spectacular, however, with the jewel case ina cardboard slipcase, reflective paper and a specially die-cut bookletwith full-color photographs and images on some heavy paper. While I'mpicky about this release, I'm sure it could easily become a hit with anumber of people I even know personally, and the group has proven inthe past their capacity to churn out some truly stunning works.Unfortunately without a worldwide release, seeing them live again willbe less than likely.