Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Review: Sicman Of Va
Sicman Of Va - Stale As It Ever Was (Smelt Records)
Sicman Of Va is a three man rock band from south eastern Virginia. They’ve been around in one variation or another since 2002, though they were pretty much studio-bound for the first seven years of their existence, not breaking cover until 2009 for dates with several high profile indie bands, including The Whigs and Company Of Thieves. “Stale As It Ever Was” is their third album.
Though they’re not painting their musical pictures using a huge palette, there are no shortage of ideas to compensate for the lack of string orchestras and horn sections. With what mostly sounds like just guitar, bass, drums and vocals they’ve managed to produce a distinctive collection, which doesn’t quite sound like anyone else. Sure, there are influences at play, a little Sebadoh or Pavement here, some Frank Black there, but nothing that presents one of those unfortunate ‘Eureka!’ moments.
At just over half an hour, “Stale As It Ever Was” doesn’t get stale at all. From the short a capella intro to the final track, “Don't Call” where an Everly Brothers acoustic guitar comes into contact with a song that name checks Sid and Nancy, there’s always another musical surprise waiting. Inspired writing is ever-present and standout tracks soon become the norm. “Time” is lo-fi progressive, with a multitude of parts and recurring sections. Ambitious and fearless, but concise at less than four minutes. “Driving Miss Crazy” must get a mention for having the best title, but its Be Bop Deluxe inspired chords, and English glammy-style vocal keeps the repeat button busy. “Sushi” begins with a little electronica, something that sounds distinctly analogue, though guitars are soon added to the mix, and the resulting chaos is a genuine highlight – amongst many.