Release Date: Apr 3, 2007
Label: Virgin Records
Genres: Rock, Alternative
Number Of Tracks: 12
Australia's Sick Puppies prove that they just might be worth the hype with its North American debut record.
Dressed Up As Life
UG Team, on april 05, 2007 3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: There's been a lot of buzz about the Sick Puppies, thanks primarily to the claims that the Australian band has the #10 most-viewed video of all time on YouTube. That video for All The Same features a man holding a billboard giving out Free Hugs, and it ended up attracting enough attention to be mentioned on Oprah, Jay Leno, and an assortment of other big-name shows. Besides making video history, the band is quickly becoming a favorite of radio and it's listeners, with LA's KROQ making Sick Puppies its first add of 2007. The trio's debut album Dressed Up As Life may not quite live up to the entertainment world's infatuation with them, but it does go way beyond just dishing out the usual alternative-rock tracks.
Vocalist/guitarist Shimon Moore, bassist Emma Anzai, and drummer Mark Goodwin should be given credit for experimenting with unique chord changes, tempos, and vocal stylings in Dressed Up As Life. One of the most memorable tracks is Howard's Tale, a tune that seems to continuously change it's format and is almost like a roller coaster in terms of the energy of the song. The band's ability to go full-force, then suddenly completely pull back, is exactly what makes the song so interesting. Along with a great driving guitar riff throughout, Howard's Tale represents the Sick Puppies at their best.
The band really shines when it comes to the up-tempo songs, thanks in part to Moore's passionate vocal delivery and his use of brief licks that add a little color to the regular chords. Issues is the perfect example of Moore's work, and the song is made even more intriguing when you hear an out-of-nowhere creepy vocal thrown into the mix. It sounds more like a demonic Marianne Faithfull than Moore, and it really takes the song in an unexpected direction.
There are few weak spots in terms of Sick Puppies' songwriting, and those rare moments do seem to come in the more balladic songs. Even though there are a few shaky moments along the way, there are still plenty of cool moments in the other track to make the flaws forgivable. The album does seem to get stronger and stronger as it goes along, and it hits a fantastic pinnacle with the slow-groove (and eventual punk-oriented style) of The Bottom. This last track is the one that allows both bassist Anzai and drummer Goodwin to step in the spotlight themselves. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics don't ever get to the level of the music on Dressed Up As Life, but they're not bad by any means. The song All The Same has pretty straightforward lyrics that are heartwarming, but perhaps somewhat predictable. Moore sings, Go ahead tell me you'll leave again; You'll just come back running; Holding your scarred heart in hand; It's all the same. The music outshines the words of All The Same, but the emotional quality of the lyrics should appeal to many listeners.
Pitiful shows off a bit more originality in the lyrics and is a fun listen altogether. Moore sings, My life's so pitiful; Give me one good reason why I shouldn't end it all; If there's a reason then I haven't found it yet; And I'll try every drug I find; Except maybe heroin and cyanide. The band thinks a bit outside the box on Pitiful and it pays off for the song as a whole. // 8
Overall Impression: While some bands' songs tend to sound the same after a while, the Sick Puppies continue to find new ways to make it interesting. Whether it is an odd chord progression, an unexpected harmony, or a bass breakdown that comes out of nowhere, the band never allows one song to sound like another.
It's hard not to be a skeptical listener when a band has been given so much hype, but Sick Puppies prove with their debut release that they do deserve some of that attention. This is not to say that the band is breaking that much new ground or re-inventing a genre, but the trio has put out a solid set of songs that do stand out from most of the new bands out there. // 9
Dressed Up As Life
shabutie86, on january 25, 2008 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Sick Puppies are a three piece rock band coming out of Austrailia. They have a modern rock sound that is all their own, mixing in the dark and disturbing with a barrage of guitars, slamming drums and a thumping bass line *especially in the song "Howard's Tale". Almost every song in the entire album is a joy to listen to. The guitarist is technically proficient with enough interesting riffs to keep the album goings along nicely. There's a mix of songs that range from isolation and wanting to belong like in "My World" to love songs like the single "All The Same" to the very macabre like the aforementioned "Howard's Tale." // 9
Lyrics: My overall impression of the lyrics I would have to give a solid 8 to. Each of the their songs stands tall on their own, but they all fall into a sort of teenage angst setting, to which I am guessing the target audience of the album is aimed towards. Each song is either about, how ones life is unfair, how a girl left him or he has left a girl. How the world doesn't understand him or abuse. The lyrics can get a little goofy sometimes, not really fitting within the context of the songs but the singer sort of squeezes them into the song. // 8
Overall Impression: This is defiantly one of my top albums I am listening to right now, each song is very very very good, and the singer has a very good voice, the band itself can play, I would expect more from the guitarist next go around with more in the way of solo's and more then just simple chord progressions. That might have been more acomplished if the album had a rythem guitarist, but I do have a large amount of respect for the power Trio as some of the worlds greatest bands have been spawned from the power of the three. I give this albums overall impression a solid 9, it could use improvement but for who they are and what it is, it's a definate favorite and good album. // 9
Dressed Up As Life
kumamilesbear, on june 02, 2008 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Sick Puppies' sound is, in short, very versatile. Many songs on the album have a loud, raw, energetic sound to it. Some songs, however, will have a soft, almost boring sound to it. But these are quickly redeemed by a riveting transference to the already mentioned rawness. However, on songs such as 'All The Same', that soft sound is what makes the song work, along with the lyrics. The tone of the instruments is in itself a marvel. The guitar tone jumps at you, both clean and overdriven. Clean, the guitar has a nice, warm sound to it, such as in 'Too Many Words'. 'All The Same' has a slightly driven sound in the later part of the first verse, but it is still very warm and rich, full of texture. Listening to 'Cancer', I find the distortion that I want for myself. It has that high-gain drive that is found in all hard rock music, and yet, it is more articulate, more clear. You can hear every note in a chord as it's own entity, yet still hear them together. Guitarist Shimon Moore has found the perfect guitar tone for this music. The bass tone is nothing short of perfect for the songs. It has enough low end that it doesnt't sound like it's trying to take over the guitar's sound spectrum, but enough mids and highs to kill the mud and retain clarity, as well as for the slapping and popping that bassisst Emma Anzai does from time to time. She definitally lives up to the title 'The Female Flea'. I personally think that she is better, because she is able to make the funk style of Flea and RHCP work in the alt-rock/metal crossover of Sick Puppies. One thing, however, that I did not enjoy was the vocal mixing. Bassist Emma Anzai, besides having the perfect bass style for this band, also does backing vocals. However, they are hard for me to hear. It may be may speakers, but I doubt it. I've seen live videos of them, and listened to them though studio moniters at my friend's house, and neither of us could hear her voice. It is a bit sad, but, she still retains spotlight significance with her bass playing. Now we come to the drums. I know that I have heard drum beats like this before. Every beat imaginable has already been done, it's that simple. The fact of the matter is, they haven't been done quite like this. A lot of the time, it seems almost as if the entire drum track to a song is one giant drum fill, such as on 'Howard's Tale'. The drum track is one rolling sound, a constant beat that is quite unpredicable, despite it's repetion. Drummer Mark Goodwin definitally gets his props here. Normally I have a few major gripes with a band's sound, especially after listening to a live album. Take Evanescence for example. They're studio sound on 'Fallen' is not the best guitar sound I've heard. It's just not heavy enough for that kidn of music. But on their live album, 'Anywhere But Home', the sound is so damn heavy, it makes my bass tone seem to trebly. Sick Puppies, however have seem to have mastered the art of equilization. // 9
Lyrics: 'What is it I'm after/Searching for disaster/Watching my whole life flash in front of my eyes/We've been given answers/Still we're walking cancers/Dressed up as a life', goes the chorus to 'Cancer'. It has that catchiness to it, but what does it mean? The lyrics of this album take a great deal of deciphering. Sometimes, a bit too much deciphering. But other times, it's a game that I'm happy to play. Moore's vocal skills are very versatile, from the soft style of songs like 'All The Same' to that hard rock/alt rock mix vocalization on others, such as 'Deliverence', and the choruses to songs such as 'Pitiful', 'Asshole Father', and others. Again, I wish that Anzai's vocals were more audible, but, in itself, the vocals and lyrics are exactly what the music needs to complete it. They are sometimes a bit too angsty for me, but when that happens, the instrumental work is good enough to keep my mind occupied, which is lucky for them. // 9
Overall Impression: Compared to other artists that I listen to, it is hard to compare these guys with them. They're just that amazing. I sincerly wish I could give them a 10 overall, but the sometimes cliche angst lyrics are just a little bit overdone. But, as already stated, the actual instruments are a perfect distraction when that happens. I have lent this album to a few friends already, and have listened to it many times through. My only wish is for a little less angst, and a little more of Anzai's vocals in the mix. Overall, great album. The song 'All The Same' was also featured in the 'Free Hugs' video on Youtube. I suggest everybody watch it. It puts me and my friends in a ridiculously good mood. // 9