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Album Review: Sick Puppies – Connect

4 min read

It’s been a long time since fans of Sick Puppies have heard new music from the Aussie via L.A. trio, but the latest album Connect is well worth the wait. Connect is the newest dose of Sick Puppies music since their 2011 EP Polar Opposite and first album since 2009’s Tri-Polar.

SickPuppiesConnectConnect is set to be released on July 16 and contains 12 new tracks sure to please any old fan and entice many new ones. For those unfamiliar with the Sick Puppies sound, think Boys Like Girls meets Lifehouse but with enough originality to avoid sounding too much like either of them, or any other band for that matter. The new record reveals Sick Puppies’ ability to experiment with their sound and challenge themselves to create something new and exciting without compromising their trademark sound from previous efforts.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Shimon Moore has described Connect as the band’s “best work to date” and after hearing the record it’s easy to see why. The balance of their old style from albums Tri-Polar and Dressed Up As Life with their new musical and lyrical growth results in a well-rounded mix of rock anthems (Die to Save You, Walk Away) and mellow ballads (Where Did the Time Go, Telling Lies) sure to leave a lasting impression.

The album opens with Die to Save You, an infectious, powerful track which serves as a great opening act for the rest of the album. The catchy chorus (“I’m not here to save you/I’m not here to change your mind”), paired with flawless backing vocals from bassist Emma Anzai and heavy instrumental work is the perfect track to satisfy the urge for some gentle head banging and air-drumming along with Mark Goodwin.

Next up is the first single from the album There’s No Going Back, a clear stand out as one of the album’s highlights. This one is an introspective anthem with well-written, relatable lyrics (“I was a dick when I was seventeen/I thought the world owed me everything”…“There’s no going back/The past is in the past/Thank God it doesn’t last forever”), perfectly- timed woah-oh’s and a faultless harmony of vocals and instruments.

Now what would any album be without that one song pleading for that special someone to stick around and make things work? In this case that song is Walk Away – another heavy, emotional gem Connect has to offer (“Didn’t I, didn’t I love you?/Wasn’t I good enough for you?/You’re not walking away, You’re not walking away/You and I we should be together/You and I we’re in this forever”).

Gunfight is something a little out of the comfort zone for the trio but they totally pull it off. It is heavy, political, and more than anything it’s catchy as hell (“You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, you’ll lose”). It also builds up nicely as a heavy peak to contrast with the next few songs which are softer, slower ballads (Poison, Where Did the Time Go, Telling Lies, Connect, Run).

Poison is probably the only low point of the album with its unmemorable verses, annoying chorus and clichéd lyrics (“You’re like poison on my tongue/So bittersweet but I like it, I love it”). It does redeem itself slightly with a killer bridge in the middle but something about this ballad just sounds painful to listen to, and it sounds lacklustre compared to the rest of the album.

Special mention should go to the title track Connect, an upbeat, acoustic based number which is probably the happiest sounding song on the album. It’s a cutesy love song about wanting to, as the name suggests, connect with someone but not quite knowing how to, paired with completely sing-along-able “oohh oooh”s.

The Trick the Devil Did sees the return of the heavy, catchy sound which is so frequent during the first half of the album, while Healing Now is another slow, acoustic sounding track. Having these two placed next to each other provides the perfect lead up to the final track, highlighting the harmony between aggressive, heavy sounding songs and the more personal, fragile sounding ones that Connect has managed to provide.

Under a Very Black Sky is the album closer coming in at just over 5 minutes long and featuring Emma doing a killer job at taking over lead vocals. The song is a showcase of guitar shredding talent as it builds up to be an epic finale track to an epic comeback record for a band that appear to be constantly improving with each album.

Album Highlights: There’s No Going Back, Gunfight, Connect, The Trick the Devil Did. 

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