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Sick Thoughts - Fat Kid With A 10-inch (2014) Review

Sick Thoughts "Fat Kid With A 10-inch" (Black Gladiator/Slovenly Records, 2014)

Drew Owen has been perfecting his craft with release after release over the past few years and I’ve still yet to cop anything that isn’t just jaw-dropping.  His latest offering is the aptly titled Fat Kid with a 10-inch for Black Gladiator is no exception and backed by a motley crew of musicians to fill out the lo-fidelity wall of hiss and distortion that typify their sound Owen is striking back hard.  Never one to leave listeners hanging Sick Thoughts kick things off with the snarling “Try Not To”, one of the most accessible songs I’ve heard from the Sick Thoughts camp so far.  There’s a current of late 70s early 80s proto-punk running through the veins of the song like a vein of gold weaving and winding through miles of hidden caverns.  There’s no need for pick axes here though, Owen and company literally decimate the mountain that surrounds them, leveling the towers of stone and sand in an explosion of chaotic distortion and insanity.  Bleeding into “Somewhere In My Heart” you know you’re listening to a Sick Thoughts album for sure at this point.  “Somewhere In My Heart” clocks in at less than a minute and it still manages to pack enough punch to knock you flat on your ass and leave you wondering just how it is that Sick Thoughts are able to create as much sound and fury in fifty seconds and most bands can muster in as many minutes!  I could get into a bunch of name dropping to try and convey the way that “Frustrated” sounds but it would be a futile effort, there’s some serious Reatards’ era Jay going on, but it’s tempered by the unique voice that Owen has managed to carve out for himself in the past few years of non-stop releases and recording.  “Cream” might just be my favorite song on the album.  Blasting out of the gate like a rocket ship with decimating fuzz bass, the vocals are perfectly crunchy here, the guitar and drums melting into a palpable, chest thundering baseball bat to the kneecaps.  “Cream” is a perfect example of the refining and exploration that have taken place in the band over the past two years.  The production value here is a shinning example of why I love Owen’s style so much.  There’s no way you could get a clean recording to sound this in-your-face or aggressive without a bunch of tricks and overdubs that would just muddy stuff up and sounding fake as shit.  Sick Thoughts are capable of summoning the fury of the thunder god in a single two-minute swing of a sledgehammer with ease though.  “I Want To Be Me” opens up the b-side of the album like the maw of a starving giant blown out of his skull on PCP.  Flailing arms and chattering lyrics bounce off of the cobblestone beneath his feet like the bones and flesh of any unfortunate enough to accidentally wander into his reach.  “Don’t Want You Around” could possibly be the coolest thing that Sick Thoughts have ever released…  Walking a tightrope between tight garage psychedelia and out and out punk noise “Don’t Want You Around” just screams to get released as a single, a minute and thirty seconds of absolutely mind obliterating psychedelic punk majesty.  “Don’t Want You Around” is lighting in a bottle man, a moment perfectly captured, pressed and then shared with the world for posterity’s sake, and thank god, or is it perhaps Satan we should be thanking for that!?!  “On The Streets Where You Live” drags your right back into the fray, battering your senses with waves of crackling, hissing, fuzz and distortion.   Starting with audible lyrics before completely devolving into tortured screams that actually sound painful, Sick Thoughts usher in the closing track “I Ain’t Done With You”.  An amalgamate of danceable glamour that turns on it’s heels and becomes an utterly face-melting ball of fire, “I Ain’t Done With You” is Sick Thoughts way of sending off the album with as much power as they can muster.  The lyrics again breakdown and degrade until they’re a single howling beam of fear and loathing, you can literally hear a gagging sound as the album ends from the guttural expulsion tearing his throat out, not with a bang but with a gag, as fitting a way as any I can think of to see this twisted masterpiece off into the sunset.  I’m not sure what Sick Thoughts have planned as far as releases go in the new year, but if Fat Kid with a 10-inch is an indicator of what they’re growing in to, you can sign me up!
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Review made by Roman Rathert/2015
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