The Sickoids have been name-dropped to me as a band to check out repeatedly over the last few months, so it was pretty great to have their latest EP, No Home, show up in the mail last week. The 12" is a split release between Grave Mistake and Sorry State, and it's loaded with visual imagery that clues you into what's ahead before you even have a chance to drop the needle. The cover of No Home is a photo of a 1965 tornado survivor sitting on the steps of what used to be his home. The back cover is an image of the skull of Phineas Gage -- a railroad worker, who in 1848 had a tamping iron driven through his cheek, exiting through the top of his skull, yet survived. These are not going to be songs of hope. These will be songs of survival. They're certainly not a band afraid of intensity nor unflinching lyrics. "Death," with its unflinching honesty regarding funerals -- "The funeral was beautiful/ The turnout was incredible/ And everyone's forgiven when you're dead" -- is but a sampling of the bleak worldview through which the bands filters its sound.
In terms of sonics, the old-school fuzzed-out guitar tone is what I love most about this record. It makes the whole thing sounds like a super hardcore Fear album, especially when you factor in Rob Fitzpatrick's shouted vocals. There's a little surf workout at the end of "Empty Death" that makes the Sickoids more than just a punk band, as well.
It's an intense trip through No Home. It moves quickly, and each song flows into the next without respite. Your only chance for reprieve is flipping the record. Yet, you'll find yourself doing it more and more quickly the more often you listen to it.
The clear vinyl with silk-screened obi strip is sold out, but black vinyl is available like crazy from the Grave Mistake webstore.
Big props to whomever came up with the idea for the side b center labels, too. This has rapidly become my favorite record in terms of a comprehensive design aesthetic.