Sick of Sarah | 3.9.11

They are anxious, aggressive, self-aware and perhaps a bit fucked up, but they are grappling honestly with it on their new release 2205, and what they’ve come up with is rather magnetic.

 

 

 

Sick of Sarah is breathing a fun new life into the stuffy, (ironically) almost rigid ethic of ’90s Riot Grrrl pop that had its hay day with Sleater-Kinney and the like out in the rainy Northwest. They are anxious, aggressive, self-aware and perhaps a bit fucked up, but they are grappling honestly with it on their new release 2205, and what they’ve come up with is rather magnetic.

I’d call this album cute, but I’d get punched in the mouth—which is the point. S.O.S is lovesick here; everything that comes with being intelligent, honest and confused about relationships is on display in this collection of ten tracks. “Kick Back,” which is the best song, recaptures the earnestness and artistry of early Go Gos— the message is “don’t call me pretty, listen to this you idiot!” This track begins with a Bloc Party-ish riff and devolves quickly into a loopy, dreamy, voyeuristic pop slurry. The backing vocals are engaging in a Bangles way, there’s a bit of Siouxsie angst and some hooking loud mouth-ness. But it’s really just a great pop song. 

On first listen, I kept thinking of Sonic Youth’s brilliant lament, “SELF OBSESSED AND SEXXEE.”  There’s an eeriness that belies a palpable confusion, an honesty about matters of the heart during the ear-aching guitar. S.O.S will call your ass out, even while they’re falling in love with you. The juxtaposition works.  “One Night Stand,” a soupy, sad, lipstick smear of a song, almost brings back the smell last night’s t shirt as a girl is wondering why she’s there, “waking up in yesterday’s makeup.” S.O.S isn’t afraid to be self-deprecating, something that got lost in the Riot Grrrl movement along the way. But they aren’t grumpy, there’s levity among the swirling questions. This is a fun record.  “El Passo Blue” warns us that just in case we didn’t get it in the first nine songs, “I’ll make you believe me.” This raw-fisted, fork-tongued honesty is the romance of Sick Of Sarah. While they might not be from Oregon, they’re carrying the torch now. | Braden Abbott

RIYL: The Like, the New Collisions, Rainer Maria, Sleater Kinney, the Go Go’s, early Bangles

Sick of Sarah will be at Cicero’s on Wednesday, March 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8; for more info visit www.ciceros-stl.com.

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