Review Summary: Rock-Rap with lashings of Alt-Metal is occasionally taken down to cringeworthy depths due to a young & immature vocalist with a thick Australian accent.
You get the feeling that it won't be too long before many music pundits look at the time period just before and just after the turn of the century/millennium as a rather bad one in the grand scheme of things music-wise... That's if that isn't already being done as I write this. One of the reasons for this is due to the fad of many rock-rap and nu-metal bands flooding the scene following on from the success of groups such as Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach, Linkin Park & Saliva. Predictably, many of these outfits have either faded off into obscurity or changed their musical style.
Young Australia trio Sick Puppies definitely fall into the rock-rap genre with their debut LP 'Welcome To The Real World'. It is a difficult enough genre to pull off successfully and stand out from the pack without having a young vocalist who has a rather thick Aussie accent! Unfortunately, that is not a good thing in this case as it takes an arguably fake style of music to begin with and practically adds a little bit of corniness to the mix. Some would say it just sounds wrong!
To give Sick Puppies some credit, they do add a few different things to the mix, but for the most part it all seems one-dimensional and doesn't play out successfully. The best example of this is track 2 'Rock Kids' (which unnecessarily gets doubled up with a Radio Edit acting as the album's closer). An almost metal'ish riff is placed over this predominantly bass-driven track that initially has something to like about it. But as soon as lead vocalist Shimon Moore (no, the 'h' in Shimon is not a typographical error) opens his mouth, everything goes downhill as corny rhymes, angry vocals & occasional curse words just make you shake your head.
Alt-Metal could also be used to describe some of Sick Puppies' music. There is definitely a hint of it in the 2nd single (track 4) 'Every Day'. It is a little amateur'ish sounding in all honesty, but isn't too bad as the simple and passable chorus lifts it a little above most by giving hints that there is some melody potential in the band.
The album highlight comes in the form of 1st single 'Nothing Really Matters'. It is probably the only time on this debut album where everything works successfully in combination with each other. The track is well put together musically by successfully combining good guitar riffs & funky bass-playing. This time, the rap style vocals in the verses actually play a part in effectively setting up the rather good, if simple, chorus that may get stuck in your head for a little while.
Elsewhere, there are simply a lot of mediocre songs with some being a little cringe worthy. The best of the rest is track 10 'Do You Know', which from a vocal perspective includes the best verses on the album as Moore is a lot more effective when he is in control of his voice and doesn't let his want for Aussie-accented rap singing take over.
Overall, this debut effort from Sick Puppies cannot be rated highly at all. The band seems to be having some fun and enjoying themselves, but that doesn't always translate well to the listening public. It deserved a release as there are small glimpses of potential here and there, but it is thinly scattered amongst the 13 tracks. Rock-Rap has not dated well for any band and Sick Puppies were nowhere near the top of the genre circa 2001. Unfortunately, this album ends up being a little cringe-worthy at times due to a young & immature vocalist with a thick Australian accent.
Recommended Tracks: Nothing Really Matters & Do You Know.