On board with Super Water Sympathy


First glances.

In a city that’s direly needed an infusion of new, vital blood for a long time there are a growing number of bands that have emerged to offer original voices and bracing music. Super Water Sympathy are emblematic of the new breed, and their focus and direction belie their very short time together. In late August 2010 the band coalesced around brothers Billy and Clyde Hargrove (bass and guitar, respectively) and includes Ryan Robinson (drums), Jason Mills (keyboards) and Ansley Hughes (vocals). They realized that not only were their energies and sensibilities compatible, but that they simply sounded good playing together.


Super Water Sympathy was born.

Sweet synthesis

They deliver taut, melodic music that’s both evocative and powerful. Billy and Ryan hold down the bottom end, and they’re met by the forceful mesh of guitar and keys that offers a fully formed, lyrics-ready framework. There’s an instinctive sense of structure at work, and the group’s current set bears this out. “We’re like what should have happened after the ‘90s,” offers Robinson.

This tension and precision are evident on “Slade Was Made” and the fierce “Village,” wherein Hughes’ ferocity sets up a blistering guitar solo for a barnstorming net result that rocks like hell. The band shot a video for the addictive “You Us Hey” that’s definitely spread the message. Clyde and Jason set up the anthemic “Cherokee,” a track that perfectly joins lyric and arrangement, and there are surprises to be had such as the tempo-shifting, genre-splintering “Lucy Blue Who,” a jazzy little treat that coils and uncoils in sui generis delight

Hughes, a heady admixture of Exene Cervenka and Siouxsie Sioux, layers the complexity of “Abzu” (a track of the caliber that most bands don’t deliver until way down the line), and the haunting, beseeching “Siren City” in which she pleads “…swallow me up by the salty sea…show me off to your family…”

Stunner “Where Creswell Ends” builds to a dreamy swell that culminates in a crashing, brilliant cascade of sound, and again spawns a rich and bawling guitar solo. It’s powerful, engaging stuff indeed. In the current-day realms of popular music there are tradeoffs aplenty, with aspiring acts mining exhausted rock ‘n’ roll tropes and hollow, faux-confrontational poses. SWS hews to their own impulses, and when you’ve got their particular amalgam you don’t need to shop around to flesh out your approach.


CD Vesper Belle enroute


The band knew they needed a facility that could do their stuff justice, and decided on Sandbox Studio in Shreveport. They cut a few demos with Darren Osborn, and got dad Joe Osborn on board for the full-length, due in June. The duo’s expertise will show. “We’ve been in the studio for a while now,” says Clyde, and Billy notes of the record’s production “We don’t want to rush it.” It is available for pre-order on the band’s website,


(Booking inquiries are directed to pyramidstarter@gmail.com).


February was busy, as the band struck out for a series of regional dates, every one of which broadened their listener base and gained critical exposure. These shows (including a radio spot in College Station, Texas) were “…a really big deal for us,” says Ansley. “That was cool – that they thought we were good enough.” Soon there will be the album to tour behind, and other ideas to develop.


“It’s the past mixing with the present…it’s the mainstream and counterculture meeting in the middle.”

               In from the cold: onstage in Texas.


Clyde, while pragmatic, is also, like his bandmates, excited about the coming months – holding the physical record, promoting it, and the promise of further shows and new faces. “We’re really focused on getting out there…expanding out into the region,” he says. “We’ve had a good response with booking…we want to keep writing…to take over,” he finishes with a chuckle.


And why not?



                                               Dave Bottoms



Zeal Media Ltd.

Shreveport ♫ New Orleans


© 2011