State Champion, Health & Beauty, Sapat, Scott Tuma | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

State Champion, Health & Beauty, Sapat, Scott Tuma Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sun., Dec. 20, 9 p.m. 2015

As a full-time music journalist, it’s never easy admitting that you missed the boat. But after catching Health & Beauty a few weeks ago, I’ve been kicking myself over the countless missed opportunities I had to see them prior. As a result, I’ve recently disappeared down the rabbit hole of their deep Bandcamp discography—and I’m officially paying attention now. Over the last year, I’d taken notice of the group’s leader, Brian Sulpizio, thanks to his excellent work as the lead guitarist in Ryley Walker’s band, but what he’s doing in Health & Beauty—often with keyboardist Ben Boye and drummer Frank Rosaly, who are also both Walker collaborators—is a different can of worms. They’re an art-rock juggernaut with irresistible hooks and fizzy, over-the-top performances. And the best is yet to come. Their forthcoming album delivers lush, more forceful versions of older songs—including a bunch from the group’s out-of-print 2013 tape, Guns (Teen River)—that remind me of Dirty Projectors with a less hysterical sense of ambition, as well as soft-rock icons Bread (in terms of Sulpizio’s gorgeous vocal melodies and the stunning harmonies he produces with Gillian Lisee and Emme Williams). Sulpizio definitely brings a proggy complexity to his arrangements, but the aesthetic is breezy and soulful—he might drop a scorching guitar solo in the middle of an R&B flavored jam, or uncork some nasty blues rock (“Beyond Beyonce”).

Peter Margasak

Price: $5

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