Sound Off!: Sick Sick Birds


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01. MP3: Sick Sick Birds – Your Machine
02. MP3: Sick Sick Birds – Hearts & Their Minds

Sick Sick Birds open for Thrushes tonight at the Metro Gallery.

You might have noticed that tweens have a bastardized derivation of a once sacred screed from an Exploited album title: “Pop punk’s not dead.”

Few people outside the New Found Glory, All Time Low set find any merit in that statement; what’s moreso, some might argue pop punk was never alive.  To those nay-sayers I offer Sick Sick Birds, who prove that you can successfully reconcile maturity, pop, punk, and artistic and musical merit.  Tonight, their position opening for Thrushes is really a match made in heaven.  SSB distill the essence of mature pop into the bittersweet and pensive melodies that fuel their songs.  The heady thrashing of punk is relaxed to a more tension-filled, mid-tempo gait, but the bite is still there.  The songs are all anthemic, filled with golden lyrical nuggets and political acumen that inform acerbic commentary moving seamlessly between politics (“We hold these truths. But you hold the reigns”) and life (“A missing information ban. Like only your loneliness can”).

The entirety of the Heavy Manners LP is a treasure, one that gets more rewarding and meaningful with each listen. Opening track “Buildings” is an ode to a reckless and carefree past life, and ignites a vivid wistfulness with its poetic and incisive verses (“Brash plans from late night talkers and beds made from bad ideas”). “Your Machine” coos sweetly, ebullient on the backs of rising horn lines that cut straight to that reflective and nostalgic corner of your brain.  ”Hearts & Their Minds” bounces along like the best of the Clash, coming off as an indictment equally on political misdeeds and our complicity in them.  ”Power Plant” starts off with a bit of resigned reflection on keeping people under control, before vaulting into a more resilient closing verse that brims with the slightest pangs of hope.

And really, that’s what SSB are all about: working through their complex and intertwined maturation of life, art, and ideology. We emerge with them: older, wiser, and maybe even a bit optimistic.

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