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Sgt. Splendor’s debut album ‘Occasions for Self-Congratulations’ is utterly contagious

New York duo Sgt. Splendor have released their funky debut and it hits hard.

Occasions for Self-Congratulations is the perfect energetic way for Sgt. Splendor to burst onto the music scene.

Sgt. Splendor features Kate Vargas on vocals and bandmate and partner Eric McFadden also on vocals and guitar plus, they called in a few friends, Paulo Baldi and Dave Schools to assist on drums and bass for the album.

sgt. splendor

The end result is an almost insane explosion of desert roots tunes that perfectly capture the frustration we all felt throughout the pesky COVID lockdowns.

Sgt. Splendor constructed the album as an “abstract expression” of what they experienced throughout those strange lockdown times.

Occasions for Self-Congratulations opens with Whoopee Chateau, an uplifting and groovy track with a driving sense of urgency, it’s the ideal way to get the listener’s attention. Vargas’ unique set of pipes grasp you in with intrigue while McFadden’s rich tones settle you once again.

As the album continues, the dynamic flow between funk and blues is impossibly natural. The overwhelming gothic themes give the whole piece a true edge. 

In track three, which is just straight-up called Michael Myers, Vargas gets to show off her incredible storytelling as she sings about the all-to-common problem that everybody wants to be famous. Her lyrics use quick-witted smilies and references to the Halloween character Michael Myers, telling the listener ‘if you want to be famous, you’re going to have to go psycho’. It’s safe to say, it’s cool as hell.

Another real highlight of the album is I Ain’t Gone, a dark blues song. McFadden’s deep tones dominate the simplistic song with devastating lyrics over some stunning Latin-jazz guitar.

Of course, the album picks right back up, getting straight back into the gypsy-jazz/ carnivalesque style/alt-funk and it’s just the most dance-able thing you could imagine.

Timing seems to have been everything for these two as it was thanks to the pandemic that they came together as a band in the first place and it was pure luck that Paulo and Dave were available to help with the recordings.

“Sometimes things work out in life just like you want them to,” McFadden said.

Now, luck would have it that Sgt. Splendor fans will be able to catch this dynamic duo as they head on tour down the West Coast of the States.

See Sgt. Splendor’s full tour dates below.

May 12 // Los Angeles, CA // The Mint
June 3 // Sebastopol, CA // Hop Monk Tavern
June 10 // San Francisco, CA // Bottom of the Hill
June 11 // Murphys, CA // Crestview Pond Estate *
June 16-19 // Ukiah, CA // Giorno Park **
June 23-26 // Santa Rosa, CA // Luther Burbank Center **
July 1-4 // Mendocino, CA // Friendship Park **
July 7-10 // Sausalito, CA // MLK Park **
July 21-24 // Napa, CA // TBA **
July 28-31 // Petaluma, CA // TBA **
August 12-14 // Avon, CO // TBA **
August 26-28 // Colorado Springs, CO // TBA **
September 25-18 // Arcata, CA // TBA **
September 22-25 // Portland, OR // TBA **
September 29 – October 2 // Corvallis, OR // TBA **
October 21-23 // Boonville, CA // TBA **

* with Fantastic Negrito
** with Flynn Creek Circus

Occasions for Self-Congratulations is out now.

Images provided.