Having formed in Newcastle just two years ago before settling into their current Brighton, Sick Joy are finally ready to release their debut EP Amateurs next month.
Coming in at four tracks in length, Amateurs is an easy welcome into the world of Sick Joy, one sure to please fans of the Pixies and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Described as combining ‘late 60s aesthetics and visuals with 90s sensibilities’, Sick Joy are simultaneously a breath of fresh air and a hint of the past. The three-piece have a complete, refined sound despite this only being their first EP- and it’s surprising how much noise three people can make. Following in the steps of the Royal Blood duo, this lot are set to make waves with their focused and loud sound.
Amateurs opens with ‘Senses’, a track beginning with scratchy acoustics then replaced by big guitars, big drums and screamo vocals. It’s an energetic start, and a strong opener to hook you in with, however it isn’t the strongest track on the EP, in fact it is possibly the weakest. This isn’t a bad thing though, no one wants to start high and finish lower. ‘Senses’ really gives Drew Michael his moment to shine on the drums, they’re definitely what make this track.
Next is the lead single (which you can watch below) ‘Smiling Shame’. Mykl Barton’s sharp vocals are reminiscent of You Me At Six’s Josh Franceschi here, and their sound is the most defined in this track. With an incredible instrumental breakdown leading into a possible marmite-esque screamo moment, it’s no denying that Sick Joys have incredible potential. This is an undeniably good track, possible their best.
Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit”s influence can truly be felt in track 03, ‘Karma and Ketamine’; the measured guitar and classic rock beats bring out the spirit of the 90s. Definitely a hit for fans of 90s rock and it’s incredibly catchy to boot. This is where the lyrics shine, opening with a reference to the mythology of Icarus. A larger than life chorus and a strong outro to take us into the last track on the EP.
‘Stumbler’, the final track, opens with a guitar riff ala Arctic Monkey’s ‘Do I Wanna Know’. Taking a bit of a step away from loud rock to slow, smooth indie, ‘Stumbler’ gives Sick Joy a chance to show a side of them we haven’t seen yet. It’s a good one, hopefully whatever’s next will bring more of this. After taking us high, ‘Stumbler’ takes us back down low. Everything is stripped back, bar a snare, acoustic guitar and calm vocals. Sick Joy don’t need to make a lot of noise to make a big impact, and they’ve really given it their all as they close the EP.
Overall, this is a strong EP, extremely strong considering that it’s their debut. If this is just the beginning, who knows what will be next.
Watch the video for ‘Smiling Shame’ below.