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Sick Puppies "Dressed Up As Life"

Sick Puppies

“Dressed Up As Life”

(Virgin Records)


A lustrous black and yellow butterfly landed on a geranium at the right of my writer’s mug and poked at the bulb for a matter of seconds, maybe two, before fluttering away fast and gracefully. I thought of pop music and the people who listen to it. Maybe they are like the butterfly, I thought, touching down on something stunning and sucking up what they need fast and moving on. Except pop music isn’t nearly as beautiful as the plant or the butterfly and neither are the people who consume it.


Sick Puppies are a formula band, one rising in the wake of a barrage of bands that sound almost identical in every way. It’s that brooding, angsty music we all know so well, whether we want to or not; vocal moping layered over driving guitar lament and a steady drumbeat. If you are the butterfly of distinction then your palate will be dry after absorbing what is here. But if you are like most butterflies, then the formula will work for you.


The energy is strong and the feelings seemingly genuine, even if we’ve heard much of it before, again and again and again. There is a reason formulas are copied, usually because they work. Songs like “Pitiful” and “Deliverance” work on the id like sandpaper and soft velvet.

 I eat at fast food chains even though I have tasted more exotic culinary creations at Zagat-rated restaurants, because it is quick, it is convenient and it is a satisfyingly familiar taste. And every once in awhile the person preparing the food adds a noticeably different and delicious dash of special sauce to the sandwich. Sick Puppies’ music works for both metaphors; The opening track “My World” contains enough aggressive indifference to make things interesting, if not original, and the overall desire for change and salvation gives the listener something just substantial enough to carry with them after they’ve discarded the biodegradable container. “Dressed Up As Life” is a tasty enough package for any summer day, especially if you’re in a fast car with enough soda pop.—Bob Freville

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