Monday, September 15, 2008

Sick of Sarah - Sick of Sarah

Sick of Sarah
Sick of Sarah (Adamant Records, 2008)
Grade: B+

Download: Sick of Sarah - "Daisies"
Download: Sick of Sarah - "Paint Like That"

I don’t know if it’s only because my musical taste has shifted and changed in the past 10 years or so, but I’ve noticed an audible drop in popularity in the “chick rock” scene (I absolutely refuse to consider Avril Lavigne and others like her in this category). There was a time when the airwaves and MTV were packed with the likes of Tracy Bonham, Joan Osbourne and Ani DiFranco, some of whom toured the country with Lilith Fair and really created an empire with their angsty rock sound. Eventually, its popularity died out both due to a change in the times as well as a general overdose to something that seemed to be everywhere. The riot grrl act was dead: long live the ever-widening spectrum of indie music.

I’ve always had a little soft spot in my heart for the addictive sound of hot, talented girls playing unabashed, honest rock and roll. Thanks to the Minneapolis-based 5 piece band Sick of Sarah, I think we have a modernized revival with a sharper edge.

Although these ladies have been playing around the Twin Cities for a few years, this August brought their first full-length, self-titled album, featuring 10 songs ranging from electric rockers to acoustic ballads, and everything in between. At first it struck me that these girls were a bit silly and maybe even a little campy, considering the sound is somewhat dated and easily branded as “angry girl rock.” Sometimes it works to bring back dead sounds from the audible grave, and sometimes it doesn’t. Mostly, Sick of Sarah accomplishes this by giving a lively jumpstart to a once tired and overdone scene. Sick of Sarah have a fresh, pop-rock sound that is instantly addictive and although reminiscent of some of the former women of rock who were popular in the late 90s, this band plugs into something new and fun, never taking themselves too seriously but still bringing a sound that is gone but not forgotten.

The record meshes songs that are hard and soft in just the right places; the opening track, "Daisies," is a fun, punk-infused anthem that holds clean, sharp beats and singalong melodies that really display Sick of Sarah as the fun, riotous girls they are. Other fast-paced tunes like "Mr. Incredible” show off fantastic bass action from Jamie Holm and throaty vocals from lead vocalist Abisha Uhl, giving the middle finger to the likes of wanna-be punk chicks donning skulls and crossbones claiming to be badass.

The ballads on the album are deliciously downtrodden and moving, showing off the acoustic abilities of a rock-and-roll band that has been able to master both sounds without sounding trite or phony. “Paint Like That” is one of the better songs on the album, echoing with lovely harmonies that aren’t overly-sweet thanks to simplistic acoustic guitar and not much else other than soft voices.

Sick of Sarah no longer have just one bracket to fit them into, as they might have been pigeon-toed into years ago; instead their diverse and fierce sound has given them one hell of a debut record. It’s good to know powerful rock created by women is NOT dead; it’s alive and well, living in the Twin Cities and rapidly spreading.

Sick of Sarah MySpace Page

(Tara Rogan)

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Anonymous Kinbarii said...

well written! These girls rock and have talent. Watch them perform in person and you'll fall in love with the band. They have there own YouTube channel with some cool video's to check out. But totally see them in person if you have the chance. :)-Kinbarii

11:02 PM  

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