Sickpay is Well Off with Pureocracy EP

By Deuce

Some of the influences on Sickpay’s latest offering, the five-track Extended Player Pureocracy, are perfectly apparent. Others are much less so.

Check out a tune like “Quiet As A Joke” which, quizzical title aside, illustrates the best of what this project has for listeners. There’s an ultra smooth bass line in which someone, AKA Mike Birnbaum (more than likely), is really cutting it up on the verses. However, see if you don’t hear the similarity between the vocalist’s melody and that of Tom Petty on his ubiquitous hit “Falling”.

The comparison isn’t a bad one by any means, although Sickpay likely rocks much harder during the hooks than Petty did during the aforementioned cut. Nonetheless, this is as pure as Pureocracy gets, and likely as close as the project comes to summoning up anything with direct commercial appeal.

However, “Devoid” gives “Joke” a run for the tightest cut on the collection. It’s a slow, powerful affair, led by a cogent tandem of the electric guitar and the bass, although the plodding pace of the drums only strengthens their assertiveness.

Nonetheless, the best part is during the verses (particularly the initial one) when Sickpay hits you with some sort of guitar that doesn’t necessarily sound so much electric as it does full of effects so that it pirouettes, twirls, and sparkles along like a diadem twisting in the sun’s gaze. The singing is certainly unique on this one, although the instrumentation is the real treat.

But to get back to those influences, “Sick Pay” (the song, as opposed to the artist) has an immediate similarity to REM’s “It’s The End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”. If anything the former is even faster than the latter, which was already moving along at a brisk clip.

But several elements, from the attitude exuded on the vocals to the chiming in of the background singers on the verses, is reminiscent of what was a pop hit for the earlier band. Clearly, this is not bad company to be in. Additionally, it very well could be indicative of the sort of appeal this project has, to say nothing of its creator and his unfolding career that will likely be well extended because of this release.

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