Sick Puppies: Dressed Up As Life Review

Sick Puppies is an Australian band that has toured with the likes of Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin and Nickelback, and anyone who has been privileged enough to hear their music knows why they are in the company of such prestigious acts only three years after a big debut album. This 2007 release, Dressed Up As Life, is a compelling album to listen through from start to finish. This band possesses the rare ability to have perfect balance in song type: there are the heavier rockers, the heartfelt and sentimental songs, and the ones that fit right in the middle. Add all this to fascinating lyrics and insane overall talent and you’ve got Sick Puppies.

Lead singer Shimon Moore’s voice is amazingly diverse and can hit the high sweet notes right on the money while still being able to belt out yells of angst and intensity. Aside from being gorgeous, bassist Emma Anzai does a superb job, giving each song its own feel. Seriously, don’t let the looks fool you, Anzai will rock your socks off. Mark Goodwin’s drumming is heavy and thunderous, which perfectly completes their sound.

In addition to their unique sound and unique name, there’s another fact that makes Sick Puppies so special: everything you hear when you give them a listen is created by only those three people. Sick Puppies made a 12-song masterpiece with Dressed Up As Life, composing music that anyone can and should partake of. This is a band that doesn’t need to beat around the bush or try to add different musical components to be great, they just go out and play the way any outstanding rock band should. This fact by itself makes them worth checking out.

Standout Tracks

The audience gets its first taste of Moore’s sweet vocalizing immediately on the first track, “My World,” a song about the personal pain people feel when the weight of the world is at its heaviest. The combination of cooing vocals mixed first with bass and then with heavy guitar and drumming is extremely appealing, and the dramatic subject and conclusion of the song makes it that much more compelling. Watch this music video and you’ll see what I mean.

After two more upbeat and foreboding songs, Sick Puppies reveals another side and slows things down with the reflective “What Are You Looking For?” Moore’s vocals dominate the song and his proclamation rings true: “You won’t be thinking of cars when / You’re on your deathbed and dying / You’ll only be thinking of what you were paying for, / What you were praying for: love.” Listeners’ first glimpse at Sick Puppies’ diversity leaves them with a spectacular rock ballad that shouldn’t be missed.

The best song of the album award has to go to “All The Same.” It begins with alluring guitar and soft singing from Moore which is then accompanied by soft drumming to maintain the almost mystifying mood. After the second verse the heavier guitar and drums kick in to give the song more emotional power. This song is simultaneously filled with despair and hope, and songs that are able to capture the notion of hope in the face of sadness and unpleasant circumstances are works of art to be treasured. The music video is interesting enough on its own and is certainly worth watching, but if you enjoy this song, you need to see the Free Hugs video that the Sick Puppies sponsored with this song. In the 2006 Youtube Awards, this video won the award for Most Inspirational Video of the Year. Watching this touching video inspires hope in humanity, even if it doesn’t completely correspond to the song’s lyrics.

“Howard’s Tale” has a lot of emotional firepower to it as well, but in a completely different way. The beginning bass hook automatically should alert the listener to the creepy nature of the song, and looking at the lyrics certainly gives a clue as to why. The heavy and dramatic chorus perfectly accentuates the evils of abuse, and the horrifying and foreboding ending illustrates the repetitive nature that abuse causes.

The Verdict

A debut album is crucial to a band’s emergence into the world of music, and Sick Puppies certainly acted like it when they made Dressed Up As Life. Every single song on this album is worth listening to. To be able to hold the stage with similar bands like Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin and Thousand Foot Krutch, you’ve got to have stage presence, and I would not doubt that this band has it. The best part about this band is that their 2009 follow-up, Tri-Polar, didn’t let up an inch.  Rest assured, that album will be exposed in a blog in the near future. But for now, check out Dressed Up As Life and enjoy.

Final Score: 9.2/10

Rank: 1st (two total albums)

Track List

  1. My World
  2. Pitiful
  3. Cancer
  4. What Are You Looking For?
  5. Deliverance
  6. All The Same
  7. Too Many Words
  8. Howard’s Tale
  9. A**hole Father
  10. Issues
  11. Anywhere But Here
  12. The Bottom

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  1. #1 by Pappa Donors on September 22, 2010 - 1:55 pm

    Excellent discussion points that really fit (at least for the songs I could listen to thanks to your embedded links)! Loved the song “All the Same” and couldn’t help but notice that the line “all the same” is used very nicely in the “Free Hugs” song! Interesting how this is a title song in this album. Thanks for the great review! This band has star potential written all over it and they would be great to see live!

  2. #2 by MamaItaliana on September 25, 2010 - 1:04 pm

    Wow, they really hit the mark in the extreme of emotions that teens and young adults can roller coaster through in just one week, even at times, in a day. What appeal! I’m so glad you included the “Free Hugs” video link. I’d seen it through e-mail forward, but didn’t realize it was Sick Puppies until I saw the link in your add. Love the song attached to the video!!!!!

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