So Sick, the debut album on In the Red Records by Southern California punk quartet the Side Eyes, raises interesting questions about nature versus nurture – the eternal scientific debate about whether a human being's personality is predetermined by genetics or whether it's actually shaped by the environment one grows up in. Their lead singer, Astrid McDonald, is a fascinating test case. The 22-year-old Angeleno is the real-wild-child daughter of Go-Go's guitarist-songwriter Charlotte Caffey and Redd Kross singer-guitarist Jeff McDonald. How much has McDonald's notoriously fiery onstage presence been influenced by basic heredity and how much was her personality inspired by being raised by two legendary punk-pop icons?
Similarly, how did growing up together as brothers in New Jersey affect the hard-driving musical attack of 22-year-old guitarist Kevin Devine and 20-year-old bassist Chris Devine? Much of rock history has been fueled by the unique familial dynamics and sibling rivalries of brothers in bands, from the Everly Brothers and the Kinks' Ray and Dave Davies to Redd Kross' Jeff and Steven McDonald. When the two Devines' aggressive approach is combined with 23-year-old San Diego native Nick Arnold's remorselessly throttling drumming, the Side Eyes end up as a powerfully controlled punk rock machine that blows past the sonic barriers of their past inspirations.