The upcoming release by Uncle Sugar – the solo recording project of Greg Warns, with just a bit of percussion help – was once described as a recording that had a Black Lips-meets-Smashing Pumpkins sorta feel to it, and, while it is that, I also see a real kinship to Todd Rundgren’s 1972 epic, Something/Anything? Hourglass, which drops on March 4th, sees Greg (who wrote, played, sang, engineered, and produced everything on the record, save for the four drum tracks previously mentioned) playing his heart out with dazzling effect.
The 10 offerings are, in Greg’s words, sound stories about ups and downs, about trying to achieve things for oneself while being restrained by the system around oneself. He sings of this on the title track, “Hourglass,” when he says, “Blame it on the hour glass… Someone’s been pushing us too fast.” He uses the image of an hourglass, whose grains of sand have clogged the forward motion of their own movement through the funnel-shaped opening into the chamber below.
In “The Better Change,” he sings about resolving this same pressure. “Man hurts when truth is found…” and later concluding, “I think I’ve tied the race… Love is the truthful kind.” This is one of the tracks where he has percussion contributions from Jon Gilad. Jon also contributes percussion on “Not Like I’ve Been” and “Nobody’s Nonsense,” with support on “Uncle Sugar” coming from Jackson Fulk-Logan.
Greg used his own arsenal of instruments to flesh out the remainder of the album – electric and cigar box guitars (the latter supplied by Front Porch Guitars), synth, and drums/programmed percussion, with a spare yet rich sound tapestry to a very professional and highly listenable effect. As a self-taught musician, Greg brings a real power to these songs and words. Hourglass is Uncle Sugar’s first album-length offering, but his back-catalog (consisting of four other EPs released between 2014 and 2015) is as highly recommended as this new record. Mark March 4th on your musical calendar… here comes Uncle Sugar!