What can I say about Sick Of Sarah that I haven’t said before? I have covered the band previously in what appeared, at the time, to be a SOS takeover of NewsWhistle Music (there could be worse things).
As promised, Jessie Farmer, Abisha Uhl, Katie Murphy, Alexa Wolfe, and Jessica Forsythe are back to rattling the windows of all the cooler houses and cars on your block with Anthem.
Anthem was officially released on June 30th via their website, iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. In my previous interview, they talked about making Anthem on their own terms and without a lot of outside involvement. In an interview “outtake,” Jessie said that Anthem reflected a “maturity” as well. That can be a loaded word, and in the wrong hands it can go totally James Taylor on you (shudder). Thankfully, “maturity” suits SOS, at least in the form that they have found.
If I had to sum up the difference between this new EP and some of their older material, I would say that some of the snarl is gone, and in its place is a rock solid crunch that permeates the whole of Anthem.
“Stereo” is, dare I say, a polished little rock and roll nugget that rides on top of Jessica Forsythe’s killer drums. It examines the motivations behind what SOS does in the form of a conversation between super fans (maybe some super detractors) and the band itself.
“They said we did it for the girls/fame/cash/etc… Back up, back up, back up and breathe. It takes a little more… Come on and place your bets, we are the elements.”
The next track, “Bars Full of Strangers,” is easily my favorite. It is oddly reminds me a bit of Lucero, but it could be just in the yearning front and center; musically and lyrically.
“Here’s to goodbye to everything I know. Put all my shit in a car, and drive away… Here’s to guitars and bars full of strangers.”
Abisha’s lyrics are an open tour diary, right down to “I’m trouble. Trouble, it keeps following me.” There is confidence and strength in owning it.
I love “Rooftops” so much it threatens my “journalistic integrity.” It’s pure dance party, and SOS know how to bring it. If the video doesn’t make you smile, well, you are clearly dead inside. Sorry. Others have done the “play on a rooftop” thing, but no one quite like SOS. Put the video on in the morning, and try to have a bad day.
“Blind” builds from a chugging opening courtesy of the SOS string section to an open sounding chorus (I’m not a musician) of “we are, we are, we are blind. It’s all better on the other side.”
Is the word “pop” bad? It has its negative connotations, but used correctly it is not only okay, but pretty descriptive. SOS serves it up like the world’s greatest ice cream on “Everything is Beautiful.”
Anthem ends with “Contagious.” Angelic backing vocals are juxtaposed with some harsher lyrical sentiment.
“You’re contagious. I’m affected by the things you just don’t know. You’re contagious. I fucking hate this. I can turn this car around.”
It is jarring, and maybe a perfect way to end the EP. There are definitely some joyous moments on Anthem, but after a scathing three minutes the last track ends strongly, confidently, and definitively.
They balance a lot of emotions on Anthem, and do it with professionalism, integrity, and honesty. When SOS stick the landing, the whole EP just works.
Trading in snarl for a confident rock and roll crunch… Is that maturity? I don’t know, but if it is, I’ll take that bet.
Art Courtesy of Sick of Sarah