In January of last year the head of the On Corporation told me about a new band he was managing called The Sick Puppies. He said that they were going to be huge. All they had back then was a MySpace page that nobody in the U.S. had really visited, but I checked it out and I checked out their music, and I agreed with him. It’s been about 14 months since then, and the Aussi band has had a successful free hugs YouTube campaign, a pretty good EP, and a major label deal with Virgin. All of that leads up to this; the band’s major label/U.S. debut “Dressed Up As Life.”
This album doesn’t really stand out above and beyond anything else in today’s rock scene, but it definitely gets the band a place alongside everything else that’s come out recently.This band’s strength is more with lyrics than with music. Don’t get me wrong, the music’s fine, but Shimon Moore’s lyrics are some of the most angst filled, pissed off lyrics I’ve ever heard. Check out the opening track “My World”, as well as “Pitiful”, “Cancer” “What Are You Looking For”, and “Deliverance”, and depending on your personality you’ll get extremely pissed off or depressed, there’s not really too much of a medium. The lyrics are good, but eventually they get kind of old and fall into the vain of a billion other rock bands that blame their dads for their problems and live a tormented life because being a rock musician is so hard.
Another big problem I have with The Sick Puppies, isn’t so much the music, it’s the image. Everything seems a little pressed here. From some press photos I’ve seen with drummer Mark Goodwin flipping off a camera to the back/inside of the album, it just feels forced. The other thing that kind of bugs me is Emma Anzai. There is no doubt that she can play. She’s awesome. But making a big deal just because she’s a woman and she plays bass is a little ridiculous. Seriously, BFD she’s a woman, I get it. And the early comparisons of calling her the female version of Flea are more than premature. They’ve made one album, Flea has been kicking ass for two decades now.
Aside from the obnoxious image issues, and the recurring themes in the lyrics “Dressed Up as Life” is a decent disc. It’s definitely worth a listen, and you’ll probably like it. But no matter how popular this band is it’s still a debut and they’ve definitely got some growing to do. Come into it with an open mind and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.