Pop Sickle

Under the Influences

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Side-project Northwest trio of Rob Skinner from Coffin Break on bass/vocals, with help from Alcohol Funnycar guitarist Ben London and Gits drummer Steve Moriarty (the latter two have since been replaced as this "project" became a full-time band). The press info lists Buzzcocks, the Jam and the Beatles as influences (they even own up to filching "Noises in the Dark" from the Beatles' White Album spine-tingler "Dear Prudence," a song "Velvet Crush" also brazenly pilfered on their wonderful debut 7" "If Not True"), but truth be told, this rippin' sound recalls post-hardcore, '80s Dischord-era Washington D.C. bands like Gray Matter, Rites of Spring, Marginal Man, Dag Nasty, and to a lesser extent, Embrace, Scream and later GIs. Pop Sickle are above average, crunching power pop-punk, with earnest singing and proficient harmonies like that of Descendants/All. More "Influences" (as per LP title) include Boston's Mission of Burma, though it's amusing that Pop Sickle cover the immortal "That's When I Reach for My Revolver"; it's a truly classic song (from 1981's Signals, Calls and Marches) and this is an OK version (that slavishly re-creates the original), but out of the forty or fifty songs MOB released, everybody does this one song! (or "Academy Fight Song") -- in other words, this is half as good as Catherine Wheel's version, and about on par with Euthanasia's and four or five others. Overall, it's a decent LP and they score points for the gentle, sweet, quiet song that closes here "Sleep." We've heard this style hundreds of times, but this thrown-together group is skilled enough to pass muster.

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