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Sick Joy - 'Amateurs' EP Review


1. Senses

2. Smiling Shame

3. Karma & Ketamine

4. Stumbler

Forming only in 2016, the trio, Mykl Barton ( Guitar and Vocals), Danny Pitson (Bass) and Drew Michael (Drums), began life in Newcastle, before settling in Brighton. The Post-Grunge, dirty Noise-Pop troupe have already marked themselves as ones to watch, with major-label and press attention. Sick Joy will be supporting Feeder at Brixton Academy in March.

The EP opens with 'Senses', which starts with a muted scratchy acoustic, followed, not unlike Nivarna, with loud guitar, and a nice heavy drum beat. The vocal starts as screamo and then reverts to a more 90's US Punk sound. It has a catchy hook with catchy backing vocals. Drew Michaels drumming shines through the track with complex beats and plenty of symbol crashing.

Lead single, 'Smiling Shame', follows, again with excellent drums. The vocal is clear and catchy. The guitar and bass worked very well together. There is great instrumental which then leads to, what for me is a surreal Screamo section. I know some will love it, but I didn't and think that it detracts from what is a good arrangement.

'Karma & Ketamine' has a swagger about it. It starts with scratchy electric guitar followed by loud distorted guitars and bass. The vocal is clean and who can fail to like a song that starts with 'Just like Icarus, all this ambition was going to kill us'. The backing vocal is muted scream, which works well. There is a definite Nivarna influence in this track. the bass line is really good throughout. This is my pick of the four tracks as it feels the most authentic track on the EP. I liked the unusual outro which was just drums.

The EP closes with a track which is very different from the others. Although still Grunge, it moves away from the heavier Screamo, and moves more towards a heavy Indie beat. With this track you can see why they would be good openers for Feeder. The lyric is catchy enough, and it is a fitting end to this small slice of Sick Joy

As a debut EP this is strong. You are left feeling that Sick Joy have not entirely found 'their' sound. It seems like an homage rather than a totally original offering. It is fun to listen too though, and the musicianship is very strong. They are probably quite rightly a band to be watched, because you get the feeling that once they have found their musical feet, they will be very good indeed.

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Review - Tony Creek

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