Contemporary country acts borrow rather blatantly from other genres — particularly Southern rock and arena rock — but with their new album The Incredible Machine, Sugarland is taking the unorthodox step of wedding country with sounds inspired by the post-new wave era of the 1980s.
Acts like Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cure and Orchestral Manoeuvers In The Dark blended pop and rock and a strong fashion sense in that time period, and a lot of it found its way into movie soundtracks. Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush were in their teens at the time, and that sound from their youth is part of the creative foundation for the duo’s forthcoming project.
“I love how grand a lot of that music was,” Kristian told Billboard. “Who’s making those songs today — those anthemic songs that speak to the experience of anticipation, of what it feels like in those archetypal movies? We couldn’t really come up with an answer, so we were like, ‘Maybe we should write them. Maybe it’s us.’ ”
The first single, “Stuck Like Glue,” is playful and weaves a bit of reggae influence. And it was co-written with a couple of non-country songwriters: Shy Carter, who wrote the recent Rob Thomas pop release “Someday”; and Kevin Griffin, a founding member of Better Than Ezra.
The Incredible Machine is an attempt to “take the best from country production, which is all about ‘less is more,’ and combine it with the best from rock, which is about the beat and the melody,” Kristian said. “You make everything count. There doesn’t have to be a lot going on, but everything’s loud and everyone’s playing with courage.”
The Incredible Machine will be released Oct. 19. Pre-order your copy and watch their music videos HERE.
In the meantime, Kristian and Jennifer have two more weekend concert runs scheduled on the road. This coming weekend, they’ll hit Oklahoma City, Dallas and Houston. The next weekend, it’s Savannah, Tampa and West Palm Beach.