Sick Puppies Connect on LP
Connect is the perfect title for Sick Puppies’ third and most ambitious album. The trio is all about connection - with their fans, each other, their own psyches - and each of the dozen songs on Connect - from intense, epic rockers to mellower yet lyrically anguished ballads - is introspective yet also universal. From the first single, “There’s No Going Back” to the band’s most political song, the ironic “Gunfight,” Connect will exhilarate old fans and captivate new ones.
The L.A.-based, Australian-bred band struck an elusive musical and lyrical balance of past and future on Connect, as band co-founder/singer/guitarist Shimon Moore explains: “There are two ways to shoot yourself in the foot - never changing...or changing too much.” With Connect, Sick Puppies came into their own, thanks in no small part to five years of touring and a full year of songwriting, finding their musical medium without sacrificing intensity or their trademark, dead-on lyrical acuity and introspection.
Following-up their successful 2009 album Tri-Polar and its slew of radio hits - the #1 Rock track “You’re Going Down,” the Top Five Modern Rock/Active Rock hits “Odd One” and “Riptide” and the cross-format anthemic smash “Maybe” - Connect, with its melding of room-filling rockers and edgy yet poignant lyrics, is poised to be the lineup’s best-selling record yet.
Moore explains how Connect evolved: “We’ve always had the colors to work with, but we really got to use some broad strokes in Polar Opposite, our 2011 reimagined acoustic record. It was always a dream of mine to work with strings and a choir, and our producer made it kinda trippy and unusual on Polar Opposite. So I was looking forward to taking some of the elements of that, and furthering some melodies and sentiments of [2007’s US debut] Dressed Up As Life, and the heaviness from Tri-Polar. It’s an amalgamation of all into one, which is why I think it’s our best work to date.”
Produced, as was Tri-Polar, by the Rock Mafia production team of Tim James and Antonina Armato, Connect also took guidance from another, very pure source: the trio’s legions of fans. With face-to-face and online interaction with Sick Puppies World Crew, the band listened when followers said they loved their agro side, yet also wanted more of bassist/co-founder Emma Anzai’s vocals. Indeed, Anzai comes into her own on Connect, with more vocal presence on songs like “Die To Save You”, “Telling Lies” & debuts her lead vocal on “Under A Very Black Sky.”
Though the whole band contributes to songwriting, she takes particular pride in “Healing Now.” “It’s got my bass riff at the beginning, like ‘Odd One’ on our previous record,” she notes. “And on ‘There’s No Going Back’ I love that while it’s slightly nostalgic and a little melancholy, it’s also uplifting. Our ballads can be sweet, but at the same time, the content is quite painful, and I like that contrast.”
Years of touring are evident not only in the tight, intuitive playing on Connect, but also in the lyrics, which proved cathartic for the group. “We’ve been on the road five or six years straight,” Moore notes. “And when you come back to ‘real life,’ everything is different, and you don’t realize until you have a moment to breathe. Your parents have gray hair, stores have moved, Twitter happened, the world vomited a whole new culture while we were out playing rock ‘n’ roll!” he notes. Grappling with those changes and emotions lend an intimate searching to many of Connect’s sound and words. “You’re like, ‘where did the time go,’ and that’s exactly the title of one of our songs.”
The third time is the charm on Connect. With two powerful albums and three varied EP’s preceding it, Connect ties the Sick Puppies sound and vibe together and sets the stage for future aural adventures in all shapes and sizes.
Sick Puppies Connect Track Listing:
1. Die To Save You
2. There's No Going Back
3. Walking Away
6. Where Did The Time Go
7. Telling Lies
10. The Trick The Devil Did
11. Healing Now
12. Under A Very Black Sky