#soundcheck: blood sugar x returns from a 7 year hiatus with the dead dumb happy life – volume 1

May 23, 2012

It’s been seven years since we last heard from Blood Sugar X (formerly known as Blood Sugar). I assume the name change is like when a pre-Wolverine Logan was known Weapon X and has something to do with the addition of Adamantium.) After a near-fatal car accident, fed up with the commercial music industry Singer Xavier Dphrepaulezz took a hiatus. He decided to test the waters again after seeing how his newborn son responded to his music. The end result is the frequently awesome The Dead Dumb Happy Life – Volume 1 released by Xavier’s Blackball Universe Records.

The Fishbone influence is loud and clear, but that’s not a bad thing. Tracks like opener ‘Problems In My Head’ are a genre stew—with bits of ska floating like so many lentils—about Fishbone’s pet theme of insanity. But surprisingly it’s the songs where Xavier slows things down a bit where the revamped Blood Sugar X really kills. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m currently listening in the ER on some pretty heavy pain medication (take that pretense of not having editorial bias!) but the slow, sludgy, and meandering ‘Sleeping Disorder’ is just epic. Xavier rarely stretches his incredible vocal range to it’s full potential as he does on ‘Sleeping Disorder’ and ‘I Can See You.’

On the jubilant lead single ‘Stupid Expectations,’ Xavier puts his thesis forward. The song about a friend’s failure and criticism at the hands of the desperate-to-pigeonhole entertainment industry breaks down with the bridge “you should be / who you want to be,” sung frantically over a distorted upstroke. The Dead Dumb Happy Life – Volume 1 is Xavier doing just that. The songs flip wildly between tongue and cheek ‘Have I Said Too Much’ and the earnest ‘Pray’ without a nod or wink. But rather than a watered down, sanitized vision of what Blood Sugar X should be, this is who they are. This is a band who ends the album after a 3 track run of slow and serious songs with the preposterously joyous cowpunk track ‘Use A Fucking Condom.’ So welcome back Blood Sugar. Or should I say, Blood Sugar X.

– Contributor: Nathan Leigh