Whether you wish to call the sound of UK outfit SickJoy post-grunge, alternative rock or whatever, it is one healthily captivating form of rock ‘n’ roll which going by the band’s debut EP is destined for eager attention. The four-track rich Amateurs EP is a tenacious and eagerly infectious proposition weaving essences of bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Feeder and The Pixies into one individual if not quite unique offering; all the time suggesting a band with potent horizons ahead.
Formed 2016 in Newcastle, the band relocated to Brighton and quickly made their presence felt on the local and surrounding music scene including playing a sell-out debut show in their new home town. The Amateurs EP is a potent introduction and nudge on national attention and needs little time to arouse personal interest with opener Senses. A scratch of guitar springs a lo-fi melody and swiftly after a full surge of riffs and rhythms. The growl of Danny Pitson’s bass instantly accentuates the song’s instinctive lure upon its touch, guitarist Mykl Barton’s lead vocals as inviting as they roar upon and prowl the now composed canter of the song with zeal and energetic relish. There is something familiar to the track yet is as fresh as a bracing wind with its crystalline harmonics, lusty tenacity, and flirtatious snarl.
Lead single Smiling Shame follows with its own outbreak of stirring riffs and enterprise. The crisp beats of Drew Michael persistently tap on the senses as the guitar weaves a web of melodic temptation, aligning its grooved suggestion to the dirtier antics of the bass. With surges of almost carnivorous intent and volatile roars, the song ignites its calmer body with rich imagination and though it never quite matches up to the excellence of its predecessor has ears and appetite well satisfied.
The poppier rock of Karma & Ketamine has hips swaying and feet tapping within its first breath; both continuing to get involved as the song keenly smoulders and simmers, bursting into fiery intent from time to time. There is volatility in its depths and heart, vocals echoing that undercurrent and boisterously embracing it at times. Michael’s rhythmic bait is compelling throughout, as every ingredient within the increasingly compelling encounter, but really stirs the spirit as they bring the track to a magnetically riveting conclusion.
They also bring the final track into view in fine style, a metronomic coaxing soon joined by Barton’s magnetic vocals and scuzz lined guitar tempting. With a Queens Of The Stone Age hue to its twists and turns, Stumbler skilfully lurches at and baits the listener into involved submission in no time. It too wears a recognisable if yet to be defined scent to its ballsy rock ‘n’ roll yet creates its own character as it brings one richly enjoyable potential loaded debut to a fine close.
The press release for Amateurs declares it “a joyous four-track ride” and SickJoy as marking “themselves as ones to watch.” We can only wholeheartedly agree to both.
The Amateurs EP is out now via SaySomething Records.
Pete RingMaster 28/03/2018
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