Release Date: 23rd March 2018
Label: SaySomething Records
Sick Joy are an indie-grunge band formed in Newcastle in 2016. The band quickly gained attention from the likes of BBC Radio and, after relocating to Brighton, were then able to sell out their first show there. The trio hit 2018 with their debut release Amateurs.
The metallic-tone guitar riff of ‘Senses’ opens the EP and holds a chilled instrumental vibe, however it’s the vocals that claim dominance of the track. The contrast of the rougher vocals at the beginning of lines with the softer tone they dissolve into show the diversity of Mykl’s voice and this control and talent is continued throughout the EP.
‘Smiling Shame’ is instantly more upbeat, with a strong drum beat and bass line that carries the song. The change in pitch during the bridge lends to the harsher vocals before descending from this new-found rage back into the melancholy. The fluidity with which Sick Joy can alternate between these different sounds is what is particularly impressive and this is a band you could see playing anywhere from the grimy little clubs of London to the main stages of O2 venues. This is the versatility which will prove a very useful asset for Sick Joy’s careers, as well as making an interesting listen.
The third track of the EP is ‘Karma & Ketamine’, which sticks more strongly to the grunge genre. With a heavier tone than with the preceding songs, this Nirvana-inspired song is sure to induce a positive reaction from crowds when played live as the song screams for an audience to bop along to its melodies. From Nirvana to Royal Blood, the final song ‘Stumbler’ has a much slower and instrumental-driven verse. Coupled with the softer rock’n‘roll backing vocals, this creates a lighter tone for the chorus and it is this eclectic sound which differentiates them from other bands. The indie-style chorus complimented by the heavier, post-grunge verse demonstrate how Sick Joy encompass a range of styles and are crucially able to meld them together in a way which few other bands are even attempting in the music scene right now.
Overall, Amateurs is a very enjoyable EP to listen to. With standout tracks like ‘Smiling Shame’ and ‘Stumbler’, this is easily something I could imagine a larger following of people listening to in the near future. The EP is well written and produced with fantastic performance from vocals (by Mykl Barton), bass (by Danny Piston) and drums (by Drew Michael) alike. There is a slight issue as the four songs do not flow together as a whole EP but, that sad, this is only Sick Joy’s debut release so there is plenty of room for development. Coupled with the strong vintage-90s aesthetic Sick Joy already have a remarkably uniform image and are certainly ones to watch out for in the future.
Recommended Track: Smiling Shame