Stereo Stickman reviews ‘Blood is Sicker than Water’
Blood Is Sicker Than Water – it’s a concise, three track EP, from an experienced and thoughtful band, and it’s perhaps more effective than many of the longer rock releases from the past twelve months. There’s a lot that seems to happen in a very short period of time, and yet at no point is the music overwhelmingly manic or noisy. From start to finish, it’s an incredible listening experience.
Haunted is the first track to take shape; powerfully atmospheric riffs unfold, backed up by a very organic beat, and a genuine and emotionally loaded leading vocal. The leading voice has a smoothness to it that is not dissimilar to the sound of some classic rock bands from way back when, though perhaps this is merely the recording style – the reverb, the dreamlike soundscape surrounding it – the voice itself sounds unfamiliar, extremely passionate, and brilliantly in keeping with the mood of the whole piece. The opening riff of the song gets you intrigued and listening fairly instantly. It also leaves plenty of space around the lyrics, so these really hit hard – it’s just your time.. the hole that remains in your soul.. There’s a lot that is provocative about these lyrics, each line seems all at once distant yet ongoing from the one that precedes it. The melody used at each moment drives this effect with perfect grace, and the song successfully gives off something of a haunting overtone – reinforcing at all times that key concept.
“I won’t be the last one of the first to ask you to forgive them of their worst..”
Twist & Shout takes things in a slightly different direction, but even having said that, it follows on beautifully from the opener. There’s a peaceful ambiance to the track at first, and although there’s an immediate bravery suggested in the lyrics, the track comes with a certain sense of vulnerability that really draws your attention to the songwriters – the previous track in many ways made you think about your own existence in relation to the music and the ideas. This one reminds you of the artists behind the art.
This second track has a superb musicality to it; the sound is fresh and exciting, the structure is unexpected and so every moment is unpredictable. The leading melody very quickly sinks in, and then you notice these additional and gorgeous riffs from the keys, the guitars, and even the uplifting and ever-evolving energy of the drums. Soon enough the music allows and in fact encourages your mind to wander. The vocal harmonies add something further, the stops and starts as well; everything about this one makes for an unforgettable listening experience. It’s a powerful piece of music. You can listen more than a few times and still stumble upon something you hadn’t picked up on before. It’s brilliant musicianship, and the sort of songwriting that really uses the music – incorporates every instrumental moment into the story – as opposed to merely resting the lyrics and the melodies on top of some chords.
F.E.A.R showcases a much bigger sort of sound from the offset. There’s an indie-anthem vibe to the music at first – the opening chorus of vocals, the heavy and creative bassline – and yet, as with the previous songs, you can’t predict what will follow, and very swiftly things evolve into something else. The song brings forward an experimental and rather retro set of keys that are a little reminiscent of synths from the early eighties. The vocal parts in this one seem to drive everything with great power – the harmony of voices works well, the melody is strong and striking, as are the lyrics, and there’s an undeniable level of passion and emotion to the performances that really underlines the realness and the honesty of the music.
The band promise to deliver something that unites people, that reaches out to all of us, and is both personal and widely accessible – and they more than deliver on all of this. The final song differs greatly from the previous two, and in fact all three highlight superbly the level of skill and creativity that the artists involved possess. The final melody, the whole get ready to run hook, stays with you long after listening. What you’ll also take away from this is the personality that shines through. As mentioned, the perspective is unique, it has that personal touch, it has a lot of character, yet it reaches out and includes you nonetheless – regardless of who you are.
The cut away towards the end of the final track, when you think it’s all over, then something else steps forward, is really just the cherry on top of the cake. If you hadn’t already fallen for the musical style and expression of the band, this final few moments of acoustic bliss and raw, untouched performance will win you over once and for all. It’s a great way to show that alternative side to the makers, even if just briefly, and once again – you know for certain the eclectic and thoughtful nature of the creativity that thrives in the music Swami Lushbeard create. A live show is a must, and hopefully a much longer project or a string of new releases will follow some time soon.