Review Summary: Young Aussie rockers show glimpses of potential & finding their sound, but still cannot cover their weaknesses as inconsistent vocals, little depth and too much repetition plagues this EP.
Sick Puppies are a rocking young trio from Australia who released their debut album in 2001. That album could be classified as rock-rap and achieved practically no success. It is a difficult enough genre to pull off successfully without having a young vocalist who has a rather thick Aussie accent! The band also gained some notoriety with their cover version of Destinys Child's smash hit 'Say My Name'. The track was pulled from the LP at the last moment due to the female American trio's record label threatening legal action. It's actually a shame as it was one of the rare times where lead vocalist Shimon Moore successfully nailed the intense & angry act, even if the cover was partially an attempt at humor.
Understanding that they needed to change direction, the band wisely released an independent EP in early 2003 titled 'Fly'. It consisted of 4 new tracks as well as 2 alternate and extended versions of the only single released from the EP, the title track 'Fly'. There is a clear intention throughout this EP to steer away from any kind of rap-rock hybrid. While that is definitely pleasing, it does result in the EP being a little tunnel visioned, ultimately meaning insufficient variation and repetitiveness.
The total duration of the EP is just under 25 minutes. Including the 2 remixes tacked on, 14 of those minutes are dedicated to the title track, so it is obviously integral to the success of this EP that it is a good song. The first thing to be noticed is the clear bass line at the beginning of the track and the bass is pretty much evident throughout the EP. Why? Well, I hate to accuse the band of using a gimmick of sorts, but it is because the bassist is a female. Having said that, Emma Anzai does a decent job of playing her instrument, even if it doesn't deserve such clear highlighting.
Vocally on the track, it is clear that Moore has improved, yet still needs to mature further. This is especially apparent in the verses. But the weaknesses of the band are rather well covered up for the most part here as there are some nice changes of pace with the slower moments leading into an impressively melodic chorus where Moore is at his very best. Then, when you think you have the track worked out, an almost metal-like guitar riff finishes it off nicely. The problem is that the track runs its race very quickly and despite it's rather short duration of 3:09, becomes very repetitive towards the end as it dries up on ideas.
Track 2 'Alone' once more shows Moore's limitations as a singer as his attempt during the verses to act intense come off as corny more than anything else. There is a decent enough guitar riff in there and the chorus is thankfully better as Moore is so much more effective when his vocals are controlled. There is also a nice siren-like wail in the background of the chorus which is strangely effective.
3rd track 'Evergreen' begins slower to attempt some variety, until yet another relatively melodic chorus comes on by. Once more, the band also can't help themselves to rock it up musically as I begin to wonder if the group simply covers up cracks more than anything else. By this stage there is a clear pattern emerging to this EP and it carries through to track 4 'Choose' which is pretty much more of the same. Padding out the album are 2 extended remixes of 'Fly' and in a way I think that says a lot. I won't comment on the actual remixes other than stating that the song struggled to last out the 3 minute duration as the EP's opener, so repetition would clearly be an issue once more.
Gee, what can I say about this release? I can understand the reasoning behind it as Sick Puppies clearly had to find their sound and move on from the occasionally cringe-worthy rock-rap that plagues their debut full-length. And in truth, I think there are flashes of potential interspersed amongst some of the songs included here to suggest that they are on the right track. But as an individual release, this has to be rated lowly as there is very little depth, a fair bit of repetition and glaring weaknesses which the band must resolve before their career progresses successfully.
Recommended Track: Fly