Eric Schackne

REVIEW: Sick / Sea – Moral Compass

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I’m a sucker for a band who has created a congruent album sound that makes it terribly difficult to categorize other than, um…indie rock?  Read through the end of this and I’ll tell you exactly why you should open your ears to Moral Compass, the new five-track EP from sibling-genre-mutants Sick/Sea.

Audrey and Cameron Scott jump right into the rock, laying down a grungy backbone with a styilistically lazy lead line thrown around it.  There are hints of Silversun Pickups influence in this groove-driven section paired with affected vocals.  The build is a bit long, but definitely makes the final chorus feel deserved.  This even smells of some slight emo notes but with tones fit for a hard rock band.

“Robot” steers a little further in the indie(whatever that means) end of the spectrum hitting some similarities to fellow female-fronted groups like Metric and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.   Audrey Scott’s vocal presence is more relaxed in this track, and that lays the groundwork for the enjoyably-intense melodies in the chorus.  This definitely isn’t your cookie-cutter alt-rock group, as they seem to opt for the gradual builds with some glorious instrumental breaks.

Already at track three, “Master Splinter” takes the softness of an oldies-infused Rilo Kiley song and throws it through a distortion pedal.  Save for the wailing vocals, they’re achieving an almost Zeppelin-y feel in the  choruses.  I’ll also have to compliment them on their vocal production; the vocals are wet with layers of reverb, delay and distortion in such a graceful way.  It never distracted from the song either (except when I noticed it).  Slowing it down a little more, the Scott’s deliver a cinematic ballad that really shows how great a four-piece band can sound without getting too loud.  “Mermaid” is a smooth-moving rhythm that delivers you to the end all too soon with instrumentation breaking off in a delicate fade out.

With the final track slowing it down even more, “Blinked” is a heart-ache to the tune of surfy guitars, and swung cymbals spread over the jazziest rhythm thus far.  The epic vocal build into the bridge and outro stretch the song over more genres.  As quickly as they reel you back in, the band abruptly drops out to let the vocals carry the music through the end.  With one final chord passing through the tremolo pedal, Scott(the girl one) softly preaches “you really don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”  And just like that, Moral Compass is over…until I press play again.

Sick/Sea’s music is worth a listen and a share, so check them out and read up on their upcoming EP to find out how to support them!

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