Sick Of Sarah - 2205
Record Label: Adamant Records
Release Date: November 16, 2010
Deciding for oneself whether to be won over by female rock artists is sometimes met with the fear that uncontrollable whining will reign forth from every dimension. The songs will make much ado about being upstaged by crushes, or will tell tales of a depressed gal overdosing on Quikie-Mart snacks. Then cue the presumptuous chiding of your loyal sidekick: "Dude, you know this had Kelly Clarkson's ghost writers all over it." It's then marginalized into the gag me genre, with the two dollar throw away bin not far from sight. Even I nearly pulled a similar unwarranted critique, because let's face it-- there are so many carbon copies of the same ol' angst-driven caws and moans from so-called rock 'n' roll ravens. And though 2205 dibble dabbles in affection, affectations, and revenge therapies, on the whole it sticks to unfettered realities of four emboldened women from the Twin Cities, and they have a lot to express.
To set the record straight, 2205 isn't the year of the powerpop apocalypse. On the contrary, 2205 is the address of the house where Sick of Sarah's collective talents in indie rock have come to fruition after years of hard work, sealed in a whirlpool of compositional sentiments; mostly dark, and mostly mellow. Despite that, the simplistic beginning track "Overexposure" takes solace in a peppy heel-clicking rhythm that develops into a barrage of hand claps and vocal overlays powered on reverb. Blissful harmonies make a perfect synthesis within the chorus, and perfect the job without being overbearingly cheesy.
The frivolity is subdued for a few moments until it hits the album's single "Kick Back", which is protectively guided by battle heavy percussion and glittery call-and-response styled riffs. The lines "You know the backseat lovers want to watch you fall / Turn it over to the flip side, looking for answers / Your route to crawl" sheds light on a bitter head space, and particular curves in vocalist Abisha Uhl's voice sound strikingly similar to a less boisterous Tegan Quin. Once we get to the lip lock thirsty "Kiss Me", the songs instantaneously resign their high energy pick-me-ups, save for the bouncy acoustic track "Autograph".
While Uhl's quirky tones are a shining element to be noted in her vocal abilities, one really shouldn't stop there. It's a grossly addictive habit to only credit the frontperson as the King Arthur of heart-melting prowess -- perhaps "Queen Arthur" in this case -- while writing off the other musicians as mere understudies. What a great mistake we would make to cave in and fiend for such a typical move. Atop 2205's somber tone, the bass lines manage intriguingly poppy attacks and pleasantly sharp guitar melodies to boot. Throw in a few catchy drumbeats and we've got ourselves some electrifying tunes for both our fun-pop entertainment and our darker sides. Not bad. Not bad at all.
So unlike back in the day when everyone was blowing up the landlines with calls to the mysterious 867-5309 across the map, I would not recommend tapping on the door of every house carrying the address 2205. But hey, with an album like this, it just might be tempting.