Tri-Polar review by Sick Puppies

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  • Released: Jul 24, 2009
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 8.7 (60 votes)
Sick Puppies: Tri-Polar
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Sound — 7
Australia's Sick Puppies have been rapidly gaining buzz over the past decade, with their popularity getting bumped up a notch when they won the YouTube Video of the Year award back in 2006 (All The Same, otherwise known as the Free Hugs video). With their third studio album Tri-Polar, the band seems to be following in the footsteps of radio-friendly bands like Nickelback and that's not always such a good thing. Granted, frontman Shimon Moore has a grittier guitar tone than Chad Smith, but there are just too many times on Tri-Polar when the music sounds like a carbon copy of plenty of other radio-friendly bands out there. The core songwriting is usually the source of frustration, particularly when it's obvious that the musicians within the Sick Puppies are a talented bunch. Between Moore's sonic guitar tones (often reminiscent of Billy Corgan's style), the driving bass lines of Emma Anzai, and the solid rhythmic backing of Mark Goodwin, there is plenty of ear candy on the CD. The problem is that the choruses and verses aren't always the most interesting. The power ballad Maybe has almost a Bon Jovi vibe at times, while I Hate You is simply a theme that has been done to death. The latter song isn't even that aggressive in its approach, and something gets lost in the translation. Tri-Polar isn't completely void of creative moments, however. Many of Anzai's best grooves figure prominently in song intros (Should've Known Better, Riptide, Master of the Universe), often making those sections the highlight of the songs . You're Going Down (selected as WWE's official theme for the WWE Extreme Rules event) features Moore using a lower vocal range and has a likable melody similar to Blue Monday by New Order. Moore goes the other direction in Survive, during which his falsetto keeps popping up at unusual times. The Sick Puppies have always been pretty good at throwing some unexpected turns your way, and Tri-Polar still does have a few pleasant surprises.

Lyrics — 6
While the music always feels a bit cookie cutter on Tri-Polar, the lyrics tend to be even more so. Between the predictable themes of I Hate You and You're Going Down (which includes some lines about fists hitting faces and faces hitting the floor), it all seems a little tired. It's very possible that Shimon Moore was using the record as a venting session, but you can still express anger in a bit more original way than what we're hearing on the record.

Overall Impression — 7
It seems that White Balloons, the big closing number, does tend to lean towards being more of an epic song. And although it's totally different than anything else on the CD, it ends up being the most effective offering. Between the acoustic beginning, the alternating female vocals, and numerous transitions, it is hands-down the most engaging tune. While this style might not fit the radio-friendly format that the Sick Puppies seem to be fond of these days, hopefully a few more epic tunes will find their way back onto more of their records in the future. It's hard to take for granted the amazing tones from Moore and Anzai, who have a knack at finding the sweet spot in their sound. There are even some interesting tempo changes in songs like In It For Life, but the choruses tend to revert to the same old formula we've heard before. Moore has such a gift at the guitar, and he would be doing the band a favor by taking on a few more solos along the way. He goes in that direction briefly on a few songs, but those moments end too quickly.

32 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Kilimacory
    dressed up as life was much better than tri polar. theres some good tunes but nothing spectacular. and yeah nickelback is terrible. youve just insulted chad smith.
    BassFishin
    Just for the record, Chad Smith is the drummer for the chili peppers. Chad Krueger (sp?) is the lead guy of Nickelback. Don't misunderstand me, because i absolutely hate Nickelback. ("If today were your last day!"...how bloody original is that?!) Anyways, i personally think You're Going Down rips off the famous beat/guitar tune from Bulls on Parade, but that's just me.
    tammySPWC
    Hello Everyone, As many of you know I love me some Sick Puppies. They have recently released a lyric video for their latest single "Riptide". You can check it out by click on link http://t.co/nhcvqXf let me know what you think once you have viewed it. Look forward to hearing what you think. Tammy
    Larce
    I've got to agree with the review. I was really looking forward to this CD since Dressed Up As Life was so perfectly balanced and original. However, the anger on these songs borders on lunacy. It's kind of embarrassing and feels very forced. Why couldn't they write an angry but intelligent song like "Cancer" for this album? There are some nuggets of hope though. Master of The Universe, White Balloons, and Riptide (stuck in my head all day).
    reverendflash
    Whoever can't hear the similarity between the Sick Puppies song and the New Order song is legally deaf!
    cofc1021
    I would have to say that this album is a vast improvement over Dressed up as Life. Not that I don't like Dressed up, I feel that the band has made an improvement in their sound and that is what a band needs to do. I find this album to be better because I hear a lot more use of the bass in different aspects, from chords in odd one to slap in master of the universe. This album threw me for a loop. I have been looking for an amazing rock band and I found that with Sick Puppies. this album: 5 out of 5 Jbridge - Odd one is amazing!
    jbridge90
    Also, the vocal melody in Blue Monday is similar to the vocal melody in You're Going Down.
    Thewheelman1001
    yeah....youre going down and blue monday are similar but they are definitely much different with youre going down being much better
    rockstartanner
    i'm gonna have to disagree. tri-polar is an excellent cd. i'll agree with maybe "you're going down" and "I hate you" being cliched, but as a whole this album rocks. and to compare these guys to nickelback? seriously? wtf. sick puppies dominates nickelback 50 to 1.
    Muzak
    i just love that they are an aussie band, even if they did go base themselves in LA :/ they went to school an hour away from where i live.
    Muzak
    "Moore and Anzai, who have a knack at finding the sweet spot in their sound." yeh, they have been playing together since early high school. and i think shim deserves some credit for being the vocalist and the only guitarist of the band. dressed up as life was better, and welcome to the real world was awesome. i still believe the quality of this album was better than the quality of this review though.
    Jnespinoza
    I personally believe Tri-Polar to be a vast improvement over Dressed Up As Life. Lyrics are an important piece to any song and I found myself overlooking some of the more passive-aggressive whining tones in Dressed Up as Life simply because the music was just so amazing. However, that problem is gone with Tri-Polar. Moore comes out swinging from the beginning, letting listeners know that this isn't the album he's going to fuss about his problems, its the one he's going to kick some ass in. And that is much more powerful.
    tonib89
    I'm going to have to disagree strongly with this review. I loved their first release, and this one clearly shows that they've grown. There is a wide range of songs, none sound the same. If you like their harder songs, there are several. If you like ballads, there are those too. Nothing cookie cutter here.
    Uruviel
    Tri-Polar is my very favorite album. I love Sick Puppies! I don't think I can choose a favorite song off this album, they all rock!
    Me.Much.Plenty
    I personally love this album and @jbridge Odd One is an awesome song!! One of my favorites from tripolar.. For any of you that enjoyed the album, Sick Puppies came out with a new lyrics video for riptide- http://t.co/nhcvqXf It's worth a watch!
    mjwolfe13
    I have NO idea what people are listening to because I just listened to Orgy's cover of Blue Monday and I am listening to You're Going Down right now and they are not even close.
    Rockinguitar
    Chad Smith Mistake = Fail lol Yeah, I have to agree about You're Going Down,; It's sounds like a Breaking Benjamin B-side
    Shlecht
    dude, i heard "youre going down" the other day on the radio and i really thought it was orgy's "blue monday." they sound nearly identical, so youre right daveensz.
    jables23092
    Wow, this review is more amateur than I expect from the UG team. First of all, the review fails to mention the obvious musical growth over the past four years. While I share the feeling that some of the lyrics lack depth, the music itself is quite enjoyable and far less "cookie cutter" style than the review makes out. For one, Sick Puppies tend to lean towards triplet-based and off-tempo riffs, matched with single note leads, making the root of the music more unusual than this review leads the reader to believe. Also, noting that it could be played on the radio and other people would like it seems to be some sort of strange, condescending stigma here. I'm getting really tired of people playing down music because the general listener would enjoy it get over the ego, please. Sure, some fight anthems like "you're going down" and "street fighter" may not obsess the fine UG "music connoisseur," but they are enjoyable nonetheless. And, the lack of proofreading/fact checking as previously noted makes the whole review seem less-than-reputable. Music, as the postmodernist may say, is a never-ending land of repetition; Sick Puppies change it up enough to keep the themes fresh.
    daveensz
    I saw their show last night in Omaha. They still put on a good set and are worth seeing live if you have the time. Love the reference of "You're Going Down" sounding like the Cure's "Blue Monday." Try listening to Orgy's "Blue Monday" alongside "You're Going Down." ----It's the same song!!!!!
    transplants182
    i havent listened to the whole album yet, but it's disappointing that the review the lyrics are "cookie cutter" since the lyrics on Dressed Up As Life were for the most part very personal and well written
    chandrasylviosp
    this is one of the greatest albums ever created! sick puppies are just amazing i don't even want to think about how far away january is!
    WonSickPuppy
    Simply love this album...Simply love this band! Can't wait to hear their new album, rumored to be coming out in January.
    NightEmbers
    oh well, with a great debut this album at least deserves a listen but UG reviews are never that farfetched