It’s a rare and lovely thing when a band’s debut album instantly feels like a punk classic.
I have not minced words. Should that have been a little more subtle and understated? Probably. But it also would have felt criminal to do that. So now that you know how I feel, I’m going to get into just why Suburban Myth is such a huge record.
Sick Feeling have crafted a record that incorporates raucous hardcore punk with a decidedly darkwave bent. Many of the tracks build palpable tension and anxiety with moody atmospherics reminiscent of Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and later Wire, just before suddenly exploding in righteous hardcore riffs. For heaven’s sake, there’s even a Morrissey reference tucked into “Suburban Myth (Part 2)” (I was playing “Sing Your Life” / in the parking lot of the junior college / look in the rearview mirror just to say ‘I got this’). The vocal style of Jesse Miller-Gordon is one of an utterly exasperated Jeremy Bolm (yet another Smiths aficionado). Geoff Rickly, the owner of Collect Records and member of Thursday and United Nations, wasn’t just doing self promotion when he said that Sick Feeling is the most important hardcore band since Touché Amoré. This is the real deal.
Suburban Myth does something for me very similar to what Ceremony’s classic Rohnert Park did; from the arrangement of songs into multiple parts or suites, to the subject matter of adolescent anger and adult alienation, and right down to the minimal sleeve design. They are both records that trash the American experience for a farce and a pose. It leaves you wanting to tear it all down, if you haven’t already in the process of playing the record.
Stream the full record here. Then, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to buy a copy of this record, look at the photo on the inner sleeve of Jesse Miller-Gordon’s shadow cast across his own father’s headstone, and crumble into nothing.
Favorite tracks: “Gave Back (Suburban Myth Part 1),” “Not No (Sick Feeling),” “Suburban Myth (Part 2),” “The Americans,” “The Party”