Sugar Plum Ferry
By DonQuan Translated by Ann Lee
One of the more esteemed independent bands in Taiwan has returned with a new look and a new record. Taipei's Sugar Plum Ferry (甜梅號) has finally released their much-anticipated 2nd album, "Thank You For Reminding Me"(謝謝你提醒我).
The band formed in the spring of 1998 and has since established quite a name for itself, beguiling listeners everywhere they play. Guitarist Xiao-Bai (昆蟲白) coaxes chiming, intricate melodies from his guitar while bassist Leaf and drummer John lock into a groove. The three elements seamlessly combine to create a deeply hypnotic sound.
Fans will note that Xiao-Bai has cut off his trademark long hair. Perhaps the new look symbolizes that the long-awaited album marks a new era for the group (this record is six years removed from their first, 2001's "Lack Of Something"). However, Xiao-Bai refutes this notion, stating, "As far as the style of music, there's not much difference between the two albums. But, we are more satisfied with the production and sound of the new album than the first one. The new album is more complete.
The influences cited by the band range from shoegazers to underground rockers: Yo La Tengo, Ride, Seam, 18th Dye, Pavement, Sonic Youth, Mogwai. Xiao-Bai could rival anyone with his knowledge of underground music, yet still makes a sound all his own when he steps onto the stage or into the studio. Aside from SPF, Xiao-Bai performs in a side band Guirum Duo, and has also been composing music for films. The song "Jasmine" (小茉莉) which he composed for the movie "Spider Lilies" (刺青) has been nominated for Best Original Film Song for the 44th annual Golden Horse Awards.
So, no, the band didn't spend the last six years doing nothing.