EP Review Sick Joy - 'Them Days'


Birthed from the quietude of a series of late-night walks, the Brighton-via-Newcastle trio Sick Joy have released an EP which is an exploration into coming out the other side of something dark, with a new sense of clarity.  

Forgetting the pressure of being in a band for a short while, Sick Joy moved up North and got a house with their producer; isolating themselves in order to approach the recording process with the simple intention of just making some good music. What transpired is a sense of progression around the sound that we’ve grown to be familiar with. Where ‘Amateurs’ felt focused on more nihilist 90’s elements – reminiscent of early Pixies records – ‘Them Days’ is a little bit more experimental and steers away from playing by the rules. Whilst there are still nods to some of the earlier songs, within the EP, there’s a dizzying urgency in the delivery which feels more focused than ever.  

 That rattling pre-chorus of ‘Smiling Shame’ is something which is mirrored in the first track ‘Playing Dead’. Though this time round there’s less guitar distortion and more focus on vocalist/guitarist Mykl Barton’s gritty vocals. There’s something distinctly undecipherable about the way he rasps over the winding riffs. This adds to the texture of the song and the nature of not really knowing where they’re going to take you next. Cut from the same vein is the anthemic ‘Shoot Your Lover’ which the band have debuted at live shows over the last few months. All at once explosive, groggy and gripping; it’s one of those darkly numbers that you'll find yourself humming for days. 

 Where Sick Joy’s previous releases have seen them lumped with the unimaginative label of a band who are helping to revive the grunge scene, ‘Dirty Water’ makes it clear that they are no way one-dimensional, and have a lot more depth than they have been given credit for. From the moodier decrease in tempo, to Danny Pitson’s sludge bass mastery, the song paints a gloomy picture of mental instability and is a testament to the fact that sometimes the simpler the song, the more effective it is. Just as you begin to feel comfortably dragged under by the swampy weight of ‘Dirty Water’ Sick Joy throw you into the garage rock feel of ‘Vibe Sucker’ - the band’s latest single which comes with a must-watch video.  

 ‘Them Days’ is the kind of EP that will help Sick Joy reach wider audiences. It feels as though the band are honing into their sound, and becoming tighter as they go. 

Words by Tyler Damara Kelly

11/10 – EBGB’s, Liverpool
12/10 – Neighbourhood Festival, Manchester
19/10 – SWN Festival, Cardiff
20/10 – Wild Paths Festival, Norwich
26/10 – Live At Leeds, Leeds
27/10 – Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
07/11 – Think Tank, Newcastle
08/11 – The Garage (Attic Bar), Glasgow
09/11 – Network, Sheffield
14/11 – Camden Assembly, London
15/11 – The Mother’s Ruin, Bristol
16/11 – The Purple Turtle, Reading
17/11 – Rock City Basement, Nottingham
20/11 – Hope & Ruin, Brighton
Tickets are available here – sickjoy.com

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