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The Sidekicks - Awkward Breeds (Cover Artwork)

The Sidekicks

The Sidekicks: Awkward BreedsAwkward Breeds (2012)
Red Scare

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
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Contributed by: thepopeofchili-townthepopeofchili-town
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The phrase "The best Weezer album since Pinkerton," used by critics to describe any time a band with strong Weezer influences makes a good album has been overused to the point of cliché, so I won't use it here… but I very easily could. Traces of that band have been evident in the Sidekicks' music .
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The phrase "The best Weezer album since Pinkerton," used by critics to describe any time a band with strong Weezer influences makes a good album has been overused to the point of cliché, so I won't use it here… but I very easily could. Traces of that band have been evident in the Sidekicks' music even back when they were playing relatively gruff pop-punk, but now that they've settled into a leaner power-pop sound with their third full-length, Awkward Breeds, the influence is almost overwhelming on some songs, in the best way possible.

It's not all Weezer worship, however. Songs like "DMT" and "Daisy" which bookend the album, are both speedier than the bulk of the group's last full-length, 2009's fantastic Weight of Air, and wouldn't be out of place on their Sam EP.

While there isn't a bad song to be found on Awkward Breeds, some songs are quite noticeably better than others, and "Incandescent Days" is a clear standout, and showcases some of the finest songwriting we've heard from the Sidekicks yet. "And the audience is loud now / But there's no sound…" begins one of the strongest vocal hooks on the album, and indeed one of the best in the Sidekicks' career. The songs shifts from a quiet indie ballad to a bouncy rock stomper and back again in the span of three-and-a-half minutes. It's a creative triumph for the band, and one of the best tunes you'll hear all year.

Another standout, and perhaps the most overtly Weezer-influenced, is "The Whale and Jonah;" it really does sound like a lost track from the Blue Album era. Vocalist/Guitarist Steve Ciolek's inflection of the "Don't ask / Won't tel l /I can't believe" chorus is unmistakably Rivers Cuomo. The track, the album's longest, will take you right back to 1994.

Perhaps the most overtly catchy song on Awkward Breeds is the midtempo rocker "Baby, Baby." I don't know what "When the waves rush in through your door / Can't use those golden legs anymore" is supposed to mean, but it makes for one hell of a singalong. The group is just as compelling when they quiet things down however, most notably on "1940's Fighter Jet" and "Looker."

Weight of Air was a tough act to follow, but the Sidekicks have done a bang-up job. By wearing their influences on their sleeves more than they have in the past, as well as examining what has worked best in the past in their own music, they have created arguably their strongest work yet. Fans of strong hooks and great rock music in general should grab onto the Sidekicks now, because this band is going places.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
psnotsure (July 21, 2013)

Absolutely amazing. Every song on this album blows me away every time I listen to it.

LiveFastDiarrhea (March 4, 2013)

Love this record so much. Not only did they live up to 'The Weight of Air', they created one of the best records I've ever heard. The songs on this album are so well written and they flow together seemlessly. Super good

Thumbs (June 13, 2012)

Honestly, one of the absolute worst albums I have heard in a very long time. So terrible.

Thumbs as low as they can go.

levidolphin (April 9, 2012)

Album of the.. whatever its great

eatdogs (April 2, 2012)

my gosh, this is one of the best albums i've hears in YEARS...

it's really, honestly, AOTY for me so far. what's going to try and top it???

telegraphrocks (March 5, 2012)

Didn't like it.

Alien (March 2, 2012)

I had heard of this band, but never listened to them until today. Currently on my second listen through of this album and it is awesome.

teaessare (February 28, 2012)

Can't stop listening. ROTY so far.

stevenj (February 28, 2012)

I really liked Weight of Air and the poppy feel on it but Awkward Breeds is a way more cohesive album. I love every track and it flows so well. So stoked for future releases. Check out the link below to see what each track is about.

http://www.altpress.com/features/entry/track_by_track_t he_sidekicks_awkward_breeds

champion_sound (February 27, 2012)

Great to see that Really? Records is starting strong! Jealous of people that can listen to a record once and like it all. This took me 3 or 4 spins to enjoy fully, but it's turning into one of my favorite LP's this year so far.

damo (February 26, 2012)

nah, i can't get into is a polite way of saying i think it's naff. that's why it's 1/5

Blackjaw_ (February 26, 2012)

"I can't get into this and I have no reason why so I'm going to give it a 1/5".

Gahd.

damo (February 26, 2012)

try as i might i can't get in to the sidekicks. it's not that they are slower than what i normally like cos that wunt be a big deal. i dunno

10-4Eleanor (February 25, 2012)

Best sidekicks record. Daisy is the best song, methinks.

kylewagoner (February 24, 2012)

Some guy working at the Grog Shop in Cleveland told me I must be Steve's brother.

Blackjaw_ (February 24, 2012)

"The singer should cut his hair."

He looks like Charlie's "son" in Always Sunny.

Banger (February 24, 2012)

It didn't hit me as quickly as Weight of Air (which was my personal favorite of 2009), but after listening to it on a loop several times I think they just might have bested themselves. I'm giving it 9/10 for now.

boobthemusicindustry (February 24, 2012)

Just splendid.

telegraphrocks (February 24, 2012)

The singer should cut his hair.

kylewagoner (February 24, 2012)

EchosMyron is so edgy in how he hates bands that are pretty widely agreed to be good. Respect for that guy! He knows how to prioritize his time!

ianissuperrad (February 24, 2012)

It's going to take a hell of a lot for any other album to overtake this as Album Of The Year for me.

Blackjaw_ (February 24, 2012)

Met some pretty fucking lofty expectations. Steve is one of the best lyricists of all time as far as I'm concerned.

teaessare (February 24, 2012)

Aside from a couple of songs, they never really really impressed me. Now I haven't listened to the whole thing yet, but from what I have listened to, this could be up there for album of the year.

eatdogs (February 24, 2012)

totally excited for this. i hope more people give these guys a listen and that no hate will be directowards them for future releases, if any do happen...

Dante3000 (February 24, 2012)

Really really like this. I feel it sounds Weezer-esque in the way that Weezer originally wrote really good pop songs. Not like they're trying to rip them off. Though I will add to Mike that I thought "Baby Baby" had a very strong Weezer vibe.

Very very good album

smallyellowchair (February 24, 2012)

Never listened to The Sidekicks before and on first listen didn't really dig it, but with several spins, I'm loving this. Great record!

MikexDude (February 24, 2012)

Also, besides Jonah and the Whale, I think you put a little too much emphasis on Weezer.

MikexDude (February 24, 2012)

This Respirator is correct. Fav. song.

EchosMyron (February 24, 2012)

And this is the best song to incorporate "Fighter Jet" in its title: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ayd-MIyKerw

lukabratzi (February 24, 2012)

the end guitar riff on diamond eyes is incredible. blows my mind

EchosMyron (February 24, 2012)

Here we go...

oldpunkerforever (February 24, 2012)

agree w Baseball, come on to bmore guys-oldpunker-

baseball (February 24, 2012)

These guys have really won me over with this album. I've been kind of a casual fan of the others. I immediately thought early Weezer at times on this album too, but they're doing their own thing a lot as well. Agreed on "1940's Fighter Jet", great song. When I listen to this album I get the feeling that these guys are on the cusp of making a really amazing album a couple years down the road. I hope they keep it up and I'll be interested to catch their live show in Baltimore because I haven't seen them since all they had out was Soggy Dog.

MN_DrNick (February 24, 2012)

Am I missing something? I think it's a good album, but not great. Same with all the other Sidekicks albums.

damnitsderek (February 24, 2012)

100% agree with the guy below me. This whole album is fantastic, but 1940s Fighter Jet is just fucking phenomenal.

ThisRespirator (February 24, 2012)

No mention of "1940s Fighter Jet"? That's easily the best song on the record, and that The Sidekicks have ever done.

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