Red Wine and Sugar – Chattels + The Confidence and Humour of John [CD]

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Red Wine and Sugar – Chattels + The Confidence and Humour of John [CD]


Label: Index Clean

Year: 2016

Format: CD

Red Wine and Sugar stood out to me amongst the stacked line-up on The First Thing that you want is the Last Thing that you Need, a fantastic double cassette compilation that turned out to be one of the last Mazurka releases. I probably checked in on some of Mark’s other projects while snooping around the A.G. Picks website, but I believe "The Confidence and Humour of John" was the first thing I got to hear in full. After that, I fell head over heels with the vibe of the then newly launched Index Clean—so much so that it eventually spurred me to finally get this very site going. A collaboration between the aforementioned Mr. Groves and Samaan Fleck, this project is remarkably discreet and sober. It's impressive to hear a duo work with such barely-there sounds for long stretches and not go off the rails when they do decide to turn to more piercing and powerful backdrops. “Flushing of the Face” sounds and feels like being trapped inside a nervous stomach. “Often Burns Rarely Tans” and “Bitter Almonds” turn high drama tape selections into internalized neuroticism, and the former is cut with shrill yet desirable ear-cleaning feedback. “Tenderness of Scalp” has a swarming, burnt, reanimated Radiophonic Workshop tone, and “The Confidence and Humor of John” churns out hacked granular shifting by means of last-legs tools. RW&S don’t get complacent in set-up—the vocals have a different quality on every track to suit the rest of the composition, with varied breath, amplitude, and mic techniques (the elongated whisper on “Often Burns Rarely Tans” is really something else). I sense a lot of the lifting of the text here is probably done with a menacing wink—but goddamn if I didn’t find these words to be genuinely assuasive. Failure, doubt, anxiety, fraudulence, embarrassment, stress: it’s all here. There’s an LP in the works, for which I could not be in greater anticipation. I may have to qualify this as my favorite new 'band', so in this instance, do not steer clear of Red Wine and Sugar.

Red Wine and Sugar is Mark Groves and Samaan Fieck. Both are residents of Melbourne, Australia. This compact disc compiles the Red Wine and Sugar 'Chattels' EP (2015) and the track 'The Confidence and Humour of John' from the compilation 'The First Thing that you want is the Last Thing that you Need' (2016). Both originally appeared as cassettes on Mazurka Editions. Mastered by Joe Talia. Replicated CDs in digipack.


  1. Flushing of the Face
  2. Often Burns Rarely Tans
  3. Bitter Almonds
  4. Tenderness of Scalp
  5. The Confidence and Humour of John