Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sick Puppies - Welcome to the Real World


Generally in the category of shouty boy music as far as I'm concerned, the Sick Puppies were fun to see live, and their first album reflects a hint of the more polished performance they've since grown to deliver. 

This isn't an album I'd choose to stick on for personal enjoyment, but that's not because I don't appreciate its musicianship: it's just not my kind of music.  I do like Time Will Pass but feel the lead singer's voice is a little thin to be unsupported on such a well-structured pop song.  Could be a great song for someone with a bit more pop sensibility to cover?  Mostly the band's shooting adolescents in a barrel with their glumness (Nothing Else Matters) but the single Rock Kids is a damn fine poke at the music industry that really made me smile.  And for a first album, its execution stands up well - decently mixed and competently played.  Just not my thang, y'all.



I met the Sick Puppies years ago, just after the release of this, their first album.  They were young, good-looking (particularly Emma the bass player) and very talented, with a huge sound for a three piece.

Mine and Yours (truly) saw them in a small, fairly empty club on a week night.  At the time, I was reviewing for a local street press music magazine and had taken the tickets because no one else would.  I recall I wasn't really happy about this but did it anyway.  But man, was I pleased I'd taken the job on.

The Sick Puppies played to the place like they were in front of a packed stadium.  They were relentless in their attack and totally won over everyone in the room.  As a result, I wrote them a sterling review and was rewarded with a call from their management to ask if I'd like to meet the band, review their album and maybe write an article.  I said yes almost too quickly.  I didn't want to come across as gushing as I was still young enough (just) to think it wasn't cool.

Meeting them turned out to be a treat too.  They were very comfortable and easy with each other but a little wary of the whole 'press' thing.  After assuring them I really meant what I said in my live review, they relaxed and I wrote a great piece.  Their manager followed up with phone calls and emails to thank me for the job and invite me to further gigs.  This is almost unheard-of behaviour in the music business.

I also got to review Welcome To The Real World.  I can't exactly remember what I wrote, but I know I liked the album a lot.  It was such an accomplished, mature rock sound for a band so young (they were all still teens at the time).  I saw them at another show some time later and remember wondering why their star hadn't risen.

Then along came that video, filmed by vocalist/guitarist Shimon, and loaded onto YouTube (see it here).  He did it to cheer himself up after the death of a close relative but, with the addition of their song All The Same as a soundtrack, the band suddenly had a huge hit and the world came looking for a piece of them.  The rest, as they say, is now history.

But let's get back to Welcome To The Real World.  I honestly hadn't listened to it for quite some time, being fickle-eared and all.  But the surprising thing about catching up with it again is how great it still sounds, all things considered.  Hindsight being what it is, I can see it put the world on notice that the Sick Puppies would only get better.


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