Sick Sad World

Fear and Lies

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After years spent playing in heavy bands like Christmas and Malaikat Dan Singa, Seattle musician (and apparent Daria fan) Jake Jones decided he wanted to tap into his inner pop-loving self and formed Sick Sad World as an outlet for this new direction. Sneaking time at Dub Narcotic Studios here and there with engineer Ben Hargett, Jones worked tirelessly to craft the kind of pop album he wanted to hear. Kind of a noisy blend of Beach Boys' melodies and T. Rex-ian whomp and stomp mixed with a Jesus and Mary Chain tough-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold stance, the album he came up with, Fear and Lies, is a total gem. Bopping from one happy, scruffy tune to the next, it's almost impossible for the pop-loving listener not to break out into a satisfied grin. The surfy "Skateboard Girl" is irresistibly fun, the peppy "Sweet Glory" is rambling, danceable rock & roll goodness, "Being Weird" is insanely hooky with a weird undercurrent, and the rest is great, too. The woozy ballad "Orange Lazarus" provides some drunk-after-a-bad-prom heartbreak, the riff "Stay Gold" hits the same fuzzy groove Outrageous Cherry hit on their witchiest songs, and the punchy "Alone All the Time" is a heartening empowerment jam for loners everywhere. Throughout the record, Jones shows that he has a real ear for what makes a pop song really pop, and he and Hargett have a sound that's rough and ready, while retaining plenty of sonic power, and the lyrics cut a little deeper than most scruff pop records usually do. Jones isn't as obviously weird or wacky as guys like Ariel Pink, but he's not singing about flowers and sunshine, either. He's got a slightly off-kilter world view and it matches up perfectly with his sugary songs and sound. While his old groups might miss having a guy as talented as Jones around, his turn toward noise pop gives fans of that particular style someone new to love. It may be a sick sad world, but as long as there are people like Jones singing and playing songs this good, the world is a tiny bit happier and healthier.

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