Sic & Mad
23 Blues: The Destruction of Utopia Part 2 (Stubborn Records/Special Potato Productions)
By: Alex Steininger
Sic & Mad is blend of hardcore, punk, reggae, and ska. Led by Michael Weiniger (AKA Happy) and his political lyrics, this band will not only get you thinking, but they'll get you moving in one way or another. The music offers hope, yet contains a lot of anger. If society has got you down, and you're feeling out of place, this album will put you right back into the mix of the world.
The CD starts off with "Rock-a-bye Baby," a take on how much life changes from the time you're born until the day you have to settle into the harsh realities of the world. Pure hardcore from the harsh guitar to the shouts of the vocals. "School" kicks it off with some punk slashes on the guitar, and then in a young Tim Armstrong (from the Operation Ivy days) vocal style the words "1-2-3-4, we don't need school anymore" are shouted. Then in garage punk style, the rest of the song takes off. The drums pound in the back, while the bass hammers away the melody. The guitar screams through the song, and the vocals shout out those all too political lyrics. Then it changes tempo, diving into some hardcore, and back to the punk again. "Lil' Sister" shows the ska influenced side of Sic & Mad. Hardcore shouts over a deep ska rhythm on the guitar. The music is political enough to make you think, while there is also enough ska to make you dance. "Don't Trust The Pigs," you guessed it, is about why you shouldn't trust the racist cops. The anger, screams, and shouts are all done over a powerful bed of hardcore music. The drums work hard, keeping the backbone of the music rough and tough. The guitar is thick, and slams its way through the song, breaking many of backs. The bass lines work just as hard, and play just as strong as the guitar, adding more depth and kick to the song. "Hot Lovin' Woman" adds bit of pop to its punk, but still keeps the garage sound ever present, avoiding any and all pop-punk cliches. The chorus is poppy and bouncy, giving the song an extra special feel. The song has a backbone, and a kick, but always lets the listener know that it's not angry, and does have a soft feel to it in the back of its mind. "And Then" is musically soft and shows its reggae and ska backings. Especially heavy on the ska, it relies a lot on traditional ska influences. But always keeping the punk touch present, the song takes a bite into traditional ska creating its own rules and adding a rougher edge. Hardcore vocals line the whole song, giving it that rougher feel. "Fuck This Shit" starts off with a bunch of people yelling "fuck this shit," and then jumps into its main hardcore, political style of music. Blasting the United States and the government, they call for anarchy as a solution. The anger is present courtesy of the loud vocals and the roar of the guitar. The lyrics also add to the anger. "Smoke Da' Ganja" is a relaxed reggae song. The vocals and the music seem to fade in and out, giving the song a very unprofessional and amateur sound to it. "Please Stop Now" ends the CD. It's a soft, confused number. The song seems to have no direction, and loses itself in its own views and points.
Sic & Mad have a strong political take on life, and aren't afraid to express their opinions. Their music isn't half bad, but the recording is. It sounds like a rough demo, as if the CD was only created for the fact to have a CD. It's really sad too, as a lot of great musicians play on this disc. A little more time and effort on the recording process could have gone a long way with this disc. But the way it stands, the disc just seems to lose itself in its noise and anger, with a few exceptions thrown in here and there, which show the band has potential. I'll give this CD a C-.
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