Released: May 5, 2009
Genre: Comedy Rock, Hardcore, Metalcore
Label: Rock Ridge Music
Number Of Tracks: 24
If youre a fan of Tenacious D or comedian Stephen Lynch, youll want to check out Psychosticks ode to food, Sandwich.
UG Team, on may 06, 2009 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Somewhere between Tenacious D and Mr. Bungle lies Psychostick, a quintet that injects equal parts metal and humor into every composition. In some ways they are more of a low-brow version of the aforementioned bands, but that doesn't mean their latest CD Sandwich is in short supply of laughs. Far from it, particularly considering that they jam-packed their follow-up to 2003's We Couldn't Think of a Title with 24 tracks. As aptly titled an album as they get, Sandwich is fueled by songs about what else food. There are a handful of tracks that stray from the grocery theme and explore other topics (Vah-jay-jay, Girl Directions, and You've Got Mail Enhancement), so no need to worry that Psychostick has gone completely off the deep end with their food obsession.
You may already be familiar with Psychostick, who gained national exposure back in 2007 when their song Beer Is GoodAnd Stuff was named the #1 single on XM Radio's Liquid Metal Show. The band has basically picked up where they left off, and the lyrical content is absolutely the star of the show on Sandwich. Guitarists Joshua Key, Jake McReynolds, bassist Jimmy Grant, drummer Alex Priess, and vocalist Rob Kersey are all solid performers, but the music always tends to take a backseat when you hear lyrics about the horrors of customers coming into a fast food restaurant 5 minutes before closing time or why girls give absolutely horrendous directions.
Sandwich starts off with Metal?, a track that is a kick to the senses and intentionally so. After some wacky, spoken lines a la Les Claypool, Metal? explodes with a variety of instruments and almost feels like the beginning of Mr. Bungle's self-titled release. You'll be able to draw comparisons to a variety of different bands as you listen to Sandwich, and in many cases Psychostick is purposely trying to mock certain groups. The best example comes in #1 Radio Single, an ode to all the generic rock songs that earn a spot on the Billboard charts. It sound completely serious in terms of vocals and chorus, but the lyrics give it all away (Now we're killing time till we're at the chorus and later you hear an explanation of how pretty the distortion-free bridge sounds).
As was mentioned earlier, Sandwich really is all about the food. With titles like The Hunger Within, Don't Eat My Food, Grocery Escape Plan, Do You Want A Taco?, and an assortment of others, Psychostick has been thinking long and hard about their meals. While the first track alludes to Sandwich being a metal record, the band actually switches from genre to genre to deliver the most important thing: the message about food. It all adds up to an album that is surprisingly entertaining and will hopefully earn Psychostick another hit. // 8
Lyrics: Sandwich will earn instant fans through the lyrical content, and there some insanely clever lines throughout the course of the album. Whether you're listening to A Lesson In Modesty (explaining why Psychostick is the best band ever and that they obviously deserve harems in every state) to Too Many Food (written about how there are an insane number of songs about food on the album), they keep the humor coming. The song that will possibly attract the most attention, however, is 373 Thank Yous, which lists literally all of the 373 people who donated $50 or more to help the band pay for studio time and equipment. // 10
Overall Impression: Musically it's not a bad album, but Sandwich doesn't need to rely on anything going on with the guitars, bass, or drums. If you are a fan of Tenacious D or any stand-up comedians like Stephen Lynch, Sandwich is definitely worth checking out. It was worrisome to see just how many songs (particularly food-related ones) were on the album, but Psychostick has enough clever material to make the 24 track go by shockingly fast. // 9
Shustermeister, on may 06, 2009 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: The second full length release by the Metal/Hardcore/Humorcore band from Arizona proves to live up it to its hype among its fans (Humorcore is the self-invented title from Psychostick to describe that the aggressive style is completed with humorous lyrics). Many people know Psychostick by the infamous "BEER!" song that started to pick up radio play around 2006, and eventually got play on Music Choice's Metal channel - However, sadly, a good lot of those people never picked up the CD it came from, there debut full length album "We Couldnt Think Of A Title" which contained around 13-15 songs a quite a few filler tracks of the band contemplating album titles, and visiting fast food restaurants requesting a "Death Burger". The first CD mixed elements of nu-metal, groove metal, and a bit of hardcore, with very groove influenced riffs by the guitarist Josh Key and sections by the bassist Mike Kocian, backed by the semi technical drumming of Alex Preiss, completed with the humorous lyrics sang by Rob Kersey. Subject matters included scrotal itching, controlling girlfriends, piece of **** cars and of course alcoholic beverages. Though the album wasn't exactly a 'best seller', Psychostick has picked up quite a following of fans via the Internet, and has become the ideal DIY-Band. In late 2007, the band recorded a Christmas EP, sort of a hold-fans-off-til-the-next-album sort of deal, then came a big lineup change - Psychostick lost Mike, and picked up Jimmy Grant (ex-Indorphine), and new second guitarist Jake McReynolds.
In 2008 the band approached the studio to record a new album, with one big problem - They were broke. They enlisted the help of loyal fans with donations of $50 dollars, for the trade off that there first and last name, or business/band name (for $250) would be on a special song at the end of the album. The donations raised about 80-some percent of there goal, which helped Psychostick greatly to record and produce the album.
The result is Sandwich (review starts here). The sound as a whole has become more heavy, less of the nu-metal influence and more of a hardcore influence. This album not only shows, but shines the fact that there talents have increased musically. This album has far more complex and challenging parts, where the last album was pretty easy to figure out what was going on. Weird key changes, weird chord progressions, and more odd time signatures have been introduced in the album, helping along the craziness of the lyrics. The new members fit like a glove - They don't exactly bring anything new to the table, but they are helping along the previous Psychostick sound. The only thing that is slightly missed is that Jimmy doesn't do the crazy mute slapping that Mike did - Jimmy's stand out parts are based more on popping strings. This minor fact does not count against the songs, however, and especially not against Jimmy because of his amazing work otherwise with the musicianship on the last song of the album. That being said, the album does slow down on a few select songs, one of them being a song mocking the template of a "#1 Radio Single" song, where the progressions were purposely over used. // 8
Lyrics: You can't make a Psychostick review without talking about the lyrics, or all the little comedic skit's in between songs. The album opens up with two of the members talking in foreign accent about how they are "going to Metal".
The lyrical topics throughout the album cover Caffeine, crashing from caffeine, taking a shower, having a huge ego, working at a crappy part time job, girls trying to give directions on how to get somewhere, the "catchy-ness" of radio singles, dying babies, pranking vengeance, and the big topic of this album - FOOD. There are 6 songs on this album about food, even more if you include skits, and parts of songs that are about food. The lead single off the album "This Is Not A Song, it's A Sandwich" spends 3 minutes trying to convince the listener that it is indeed not a song, or an egg, or an Olson twin, or Windows Vista. At the far end of the album comes the 373 Thank You's song: a song written for all the people that donated money as mentioned in the sound section. The song was, in fact, cut up pieces of old songs, with names sang over them, re-recorded for this album. The very last track on the album, "We Ran Out Of CD Space" is the true gem of the album. it's almost impossible to describe the song lyrically without just typing the entire song out, but it is a soft acoustic song, written by Jimmy, and the lyrics are just plain random and funny. Would probably be the best choice for a single in the future if the song didn't cut out due to not having enough CD space.
On the singing side, Rob (or RAWRB) has shown improvement as well, mostly in his singing and harmonies (the chorus of "Shower", "The Hunger Within", and "We Ran Out Of CD Spac" displays this). His screams in some songs have become more brutal and angry, helping along the relentlessness of the instrumentals of certain songs ("Caffeine", "Die... A Lot", and "You've Got Mail Enhancement"). // 8
Overall Impression: Psychostick is the official humor-metal band of this era, and hopefully are here to stay, with an album that continues them on there journey of becoming the biggest dumb band ever! The only downside to this album really is the fact that "We Couldn't Think Of A Title" is probably still the best album to get new fans started on, where this album will mostly appeal to people that are already fans of Psychostick. No true worries however, because I'm sure that people will stroll down the metal aisle at FYE and wonder why a sandwich (album cover) is sitting in the P section, therefore leaving them no choice but to listen, enjoy, and be corrupted. If it were lost or stolen, I would only be pleased that the word of Psychostick has been passed on to another - Thank god for BitTorrent, amen. // 8