Saturday, August 8, 2020

CD Odyssey Disc 1395: THICK

Welcome to the weekend! I’ve had a busy week and I’m looking forward to some quality chill out time. Apart from watching TV, when I chill out it usually involves music (e.g. – playing a game and listening to music; reading a book and listening to music; hanging out with friends and listening to music). Music basically makes everything better. Except TV, obviously. It’s really disruptive if you’re trying to watch a show.

Disc 1395 is…. 5 Years Behind
Artist: THICK

Year of Release: 2020

What’s up with the Cover? A Giant Head Cover, but with a twist – this Giant Head is a collage of the various band members’ heads. I’m not big on collage, but who doesn’t love a Giant Head Cover?

How I Came To Know It: I think I read an article about obscure bands from Brooklyn worth checking out. Turns out this one really was.

How It Stacks Up: I only have this one Thick album, so it can’t stack up.

Ratings: 4 stars but almost 5

Brooklyn has been putting out a lot of good music lately, none better than the garage punk sounds of THICK.

“5 Years Behind” is the perfect bridge between fuzzed out rock and roll and the visceral vitriol of punk. It isn’t easy to sound raw but play tight, but THICK thrive in that narrow window. There are plenty of slam-dance worthy tracks, and most of those slip in some pretty appealing rock riffs (some guitar, some bass – all good). The addition of that bit of polish never feels contrived or commercial, however, and while it would be easy to label THICK as “pop punk”, only the strongest punk purists could find offence here.

As for me, I could care less about labels – I just like good music. “5 Years Behind” doesn’t have a single misstep, with plenty of standouts. I found myself thinking that if this were a nineties band, there would be a lot of disaffected “what’s the point of it all?” tunes. It being 2020, THICK is just as disaffected, but the songs express a lot more agency.

For example, on “Sleeping Through the Weekend” they don’t just bemoan the slow passing of days and the inevitability of change, they end the song with a repeating refrain of “I don’t care about your job!” It isn’t angry, it’s just a pointed reminder that they’re not looking for sympathy. Also, they don’t want to have any boring, corporate water cooler conversations. Life’s too short.

Mansplain” is a shot across the bow of everyone who has (or will) treat the trio differently because they are women. The song begins with a series of passive aggressive things men say when talking about all-women groups. I like to think that these clips are a bunch of the band’s male friends playing the role of various douchebags. The alternative – that they have recordings of actual douchebags – is too painful to contemplate.

Not content with a litany of dumb things dudes say, “Your Mom” is a laundry list of generic advice their friend’s square mom gives them. It is the album’s purest punk moment, and like “Mansplain,” underscores how THICK is not only not interested in other people’s judgments of them, they are more than willing to underscore just how annoying they find those judgments. It helps that they wrap that anger up into some pretty kick ass songs.

Given they are a trio, THICK makes a surprising amount of sound. Drummer Shari Page hits hard and crisp, jumping the beat in a way that gives every song a driving energy. Guitarist Nikki Sisti doesn’t play anything complicated, but she plays with a rich, round tone, drawing her riffs out in a way that makes you want to air guitar along – I did so frequently.

As befits its punk roots, the album is a brief 29 minutes long, and as a result I got in a lot of listens. On every one I enjoyed the record more and more, and I expect this will be a strong contender for my “best of 2020” list come the end of the year.

Best tracks: Sleeping Through the Weekend, Bumming Me Out, Home, Mansplain, WHUB, Your Mom, Party With Me

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