Sick Puppies

Connect

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Four albums into their career, it is time for Sick Puppies to buckle down and grow up. And so the sounds on Connect, the trio's fourth album, are varied and its themes are ambitious, tackling disconnect and politics. This doesn't mean the Australian trio necessarily sounds adult, however. Tossed-off references to Tiananmen Square sometimes signify adulthood; other times maturity arrives through the adoption of the smooth balladry of Goo Goo Dolls, or perhaps an interpolation of the overheated Evanescence. Usually, the stabs at lyrical profundity come up a bit short, but Sick Puppies' maturation from neo-grunge to neo-post-grunge means that Connect offers a richer musical experience than the group's previous records. They're still hampered a bit by their desperate desire to be taken seriously, but the back half of Connect, written largely on acoustic guitars, shows that their strength lies not in attitude but rather in softer sonic textures.

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