Sick Puppies
Tri-Polar


4.5
superb

Review

by project86fan USER (10 Reviews)
September 18th, 2009 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tri-Polar is among the best albums of 2009. Despite the preplexingly uninteresting lead single "You're Going Down," Tri-Polar packs a hearty punch while striking the same intimate chords found in "Dressed Up As Life."

I think there was a collective groan from rock fans when the demo for the new Sick Puppies' song "War" arrived on the internet. Coupling that with the out-of-character lead single "You're Going Down," a crowd of elitist buzzards flocked around the body of the Sick Puppies, just waiting until the album released so they could write their clever copy. Even on this site, the expected critiques flowed as reviewers said Tri-Polar was "What will be regarded as the most frustrating album of 2009," and, in typical vulturespeak, "The Sick Puppies prove that they are suffering for mainstream sophomore sickness." Is that it, have the Sick Puppies succumbed to the disease of selling out, losing their punch or the sophomore slump or what not"

I have to admit that I wanted to hate this album and be a good respectable musical snob. It's easy to just join if once a good ol'-fashioned dogpile gets going. "War" was a surprising jolt to the ears (not in a good way) and "You're Going Down" wasn't a single on par with titans "All The Same" and "My World" off the Puppies' legendary "Dressed Up As Life" of 2006. I didn't even bother to check out the album until August figuring "why be disappointed" I'll just have my memories of their former glory and not tarnish it with this new crap."

Then I actually listened to the album past the two critically-panned songs and voila, my antipathy faded. What I found in Tri-Polar was a dynamic concoction of songs that rode both dynamic and emotional crescendos to make an aggressive but balanced album that easily escaped the sophomore slump. Songs like "Master Of The Universe" show off both the chops of leading female bassist Emma Anzai and talented drummer Mark Goodwin.

As was true in Dressed Up In Life, vocalist Shimon Moore remains the weak point of the band. His attempts to add aggression to the band through forced screaming really detract from songs like "War". The vocals on "Odd One" are also a little funny -- overall, Shimon really is the only letdown on this album, if he left the aggression to Emma, who plays a perfectly menacing bass just fine, the album would really be legendary. All that said, Shimon still does provide generally good vocals, songs like "In It For Life," "Survive" and "Don't Walk Away" showcase his considerable talent.

Where the album excels is in the music. The vocals and lyrics are good enough for this genre, easily topping those of their competitors at other hard rock bands, however the other two members of the band set the Puppies apart. Almost every breakdown is something to behold, the final thirty seconds of "So What I Lied" are jaw-dropping, and the bridge of the album's best song, "In It For Life" sends chills down my spine every time.

Despite a few poor decisions, the move toward aggression and the choice to release "You're Going Down" as the lead single in particular, the Sick Puppies still bring their A-game. Contrary to the phoned-in criticism this album received, their is a lot of depth here. While Tri-Polar, with the exceptions of "In It For Life" and "White Balloons" can't match the grippingly frightening emotional intimacy of Dressed Up As Life, this album is still both heartfelt and passionate.

While Tri-Polar wasn't what we expected, the Sick Puppies have successfully managed to change direction without losing their signature sound. If you assume "War" and "You're Going Down" were put on the album to draw attention and garner sales from generally pathetically-shallow mainstream rock listeners and discount them, the rest of the album is easily a 4.5/5. I will disregard those two singles -- "You're Going Down" in particular seems to exist solely to saw to the Nicklebacks and Hinders of the world that we can get a #1 single at Active Rock and beat you at your own game without even trying -- and by doing so, I cannot but help shower praise on the rest of Tri-Polar.

4.7/5 if you exclude my skip tracks, 4.3/5 if you grade the whole album.

Must Have tracks:

In It For Life
White Balloons
So What I Lied

Also Recommended:

Survive
Riptide
Master Of the Universe

Skip:

You're Going Down
I Hate You
War



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Staff Reviewer
September 18th 2009


6729 Comments


I disagree with you, but I like your review.

Some parts seem a little exaggerated. pos'd : )

Digging: Grizzly Bear - Shields

project86fan
September 18th 2009


26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Didn't want to equivocate as there are three generally negative reviews here and I genuinely love this album. If I exaggerated at all, it is only out of an effort to get people who liked the Dressed Up As Life to at least check this out past the first couple of tracks. Rarely has an album been as back-loaded as Tri-Polar, the best songs are the last two.

Romulus
September 18th 2009


8522 Comments


THIS IS WARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR AND ITS ONNNNN TONIGHT!

real clever guys.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
September 20th 2009


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I have only had the chance to give this album a solitary listen. I agree on a couple of things with this review; (a) the opener threw me right off and (b) the album is not as bad as what many make it out to be. But it's no 'Dressed Up As Life' & definitely not a 4.5. On first listen, I'd have it around the 3 mark, but that's very preliminary.

tammyspwc
March 31st 2011


1 Comments


Hello Everyone,

As many of you know I love me some Sick Puppies. They have recently released a lyric video for their latest
single "Riptide". You can check it out by click on link http://t.co/nhcvqXf let me know what you think once
you have viewed it. Look forward to hearing what you think.

Tammy

jsaf7
July 9th 2016


387 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album was surprisingly good despite my expectations...

Trailmix
September 14th 2016


128 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Aye, for what it is, it gets the job done. Other than that, not too crazy about it.

Snide
March 25th 2017


7050 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Forgot about this album.

FullOfSounds
March 25th 2017


15771 Comments


lol Snide I was just looking at this when you bumped it

Snide
March 25th 2017


7050 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That coincidence though lmao. I feel as though this is this band's high point, and I don't think they're ever gonna reach these heights again.

FullOfSounds
March 25th 2017


15771 Comments


I like this singer more than their new one, but I've only heard You're Going Down from this

Snide
March 25th 2017


7050 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Listen to "I Hate You", such a jam and imo as good as "You're Going Down."

SoundofMadness1
March 25th 2017


79 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've yet to hear Fury, but for some reason I'm always skeptical when a band changes singers. As for this one it's decent, but well behind Dressed Up as Life.

SoundofMadness1
March 25th 2017


79 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

So What I Lied is probably the best on here.

Snide
March 26th 2017


7050 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah this still jams, production is really good for a band like this.

SoundofMadness1
March 26th 2017


79 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

True. I agree that this is pretty good but it has a couple of weaker tracks, especially War. To me Dressed Up as Life is so consistent.

BlackMalachite
January 7th 2018


3711 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was the highest point this band ever reached tbh.



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