Fit For Rivals
Sugar EP
(Big3 Records)

It’s been years since we’ve heard anything from Fit For Rivals, the female-fronted up-and-comer who dropped the powerful single “Damage” back in 2009. However, soon after their climb to success from their self-released debut record, the band went dark from the limelight. Now, six years later, Fit For Rivals is back with their latest EP Sugar, the hopeful precursor for their rumored sophomore full-length Freak Machine.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with Sugar since vocalist Renee Phoenix seemed pretty M.I.A. over the past few years, but lo and behold, the first few seconds into the EP I was hooked. Removing the edgier punk/goth side of their previous sound, Fit For Rivals delved deeper into a more throwback vibe, clearly taking influence from early 2000s hard rock (“The Light That Shines”), grunge (“Special Kind Of Crazy”), and even ’60s surf jams (“Freak Machine”).

Though only four tracks long, the listener gets a whole range of what Fit For Rivals will bring to the table for their next full-length. Perpetually pairing Phoenix’s signature raspy smoker vocals with steady, hefty bass lines, the album is heavily dependent on the rhythm section, giving the lead guitar sparing but highly rewarding moments to shine through. The solo on “Freak Machine” and the entire main riff and bridge on “Hit Me” are easily the album’s best highlights.

Sugar falls short in only a few, almost negligible areas. The lyrics tend to get rather cheesy or cliché with respective lines like “How could I ever live without you by my side?/You’re the light that shines” (“Light That Shines”) and “If you’re going to hit me/hit me like a man” (“Hit Me”). However, the gritty, cutting-edge attitude and overall song structure packed into this EP makes those minor flaws fall steadily to the background.

Sugar represents a real growth in Fit For Rivals and beautifully showcases a side of modern day hard rock that seems to have fallen to the wayside over the past couple of years. I have high hopes for any new music they put forth in the upcoming future. (Natasha Van Duser)

Purchase the Sugar EP on iTunes.

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