Sic Alps Sic Alps

[Drag City; 2012]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: garage rock, lo-fi psych, guitar pop
Others: Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, White Stripes

From the people who brought you those bright copper pennies from heaven “Message From The Law,” “Mater,” “Massive Place,” “Hey! Sofia,” and many more comes Sic Alps’ new self-titled album: a fuzzy, blowsy blast of hop-skip-to-jumpin’ boogies bound to get you goosed and gandered onto the street, into the night, and flatly flopped down on the mattress in merry exhaustion. While it may be their first foray into a proper studio (listen to that high pop sheen on album highlight “Moviehead”), they haven’t lost the pisscat shuffleup spit-takes that make them so Sic.

Why, the very demanding (and *gulp* effective, since I just did) “Drink Up!” rings out as sketched ‘n’ bleary as primo pressrecordn’go Alps ever trilled. And while “Wake Up, It’s Over II” refurbishes its Napa Asylum predecessor, the tune’s still got plenty o’ hot battery acid flying off its twirlin’ floppy tits. The point is, don’t worry like I did that these guys are losing that winning, misshapen hissy fit jut of theirs. They’ll still happily poke you in the eye as much as loll your noggin on a dowel.

That being said, there are a fair share of slow jams peppered throughout. Like never before, lead vocalist Mike Donovan is showing some gentleness, vulnerability, and dareisay “soul” to us savage-hearted rock ‘n’ rollers. And as everything is just so, we’re no worse for the wear. The sweeping “Rock Races” in particular is something truly captivating, showing off their newfound affinity for string sections to pristine effect (though not without a random guitar stab and conversational snippet). It’s like the odd eloquence of a pretty drunk girl dancing perfectly awkward on a rickety, near-busted tabletop: Somehow you are aware of the danger, but there is a dizzy alchemy in place that is latently reassuring.

So if you love to rock it on out in the ol’ new-fashioned old way, keep an eye peeled for these guys in the next few months as they cruise through the states. And plunk down some cash to lighten their merch load for this and any of their recorded works, as they are the reason backup CDs and tapes exist (your digital media will turf out on you). While these guys still have no idea how to make alluring cover art, their plastic certainly belongs on your car seats and in your stereos. And Sic Alps, their most concise yet dense and appealing album since their first non-album, Description Of The Harbor, is a more than fine place to start.

Links: Sic Alps - Drag City

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