True, the band sports a look to fit the part. True, they tread some old and familiar ground. True, they've been compared to just about everybody. And also true, taking turns on an organ is a great gimmick.
But then there is always the other side. You know the one. The one that wonders what if it isn't an act.
Sissy and The Blisters breaks for better ground on Let Her Go.
Back in November, when the band put out their first single, Things May Change, I scratched my head. It was good, but nothing like their real debut from a month earlier. It was released as part of the In The City Unsigned Collection, which featured 20 interesting and addictive alternative artists.
The song, The Wolf, is still one of my favorite tracks ever recorded by Sissy and The Blisters. It knocks back some of the critiques that their lack of a bass player makes the band overtly tiny moot.
James Geard is the bass. His deep and unrelenting voice leaps the song forward and through the wall. He belts his vocals out like a boxer, pummeling anything that gets in the way. It's rockabilly with a punk attitude and skinny jeans. And all it comes across on Let Her Go.
Another reason some critics don't like them — aside from Steve Lamacq and John Kennedy — is that the band is generally short on words and big on clown around conversations about whatever comes up. Doing so puts more emphasis on the music as opposed to who they are or other inspired platitudes.
Who they are is simple enough to figure out. Geard is the guy with the deep voice. Nick Benton and Jack James are the cause of the crashing guitars. Ed Kirwan is in the back, banging the drums.
The best track on Let Her Go is You Girl. The clever pop-fun lyrics are delivered with all the urgency of garage rock and weight of psychedelic rock. The lo-fi sound only adds appeal, over and over again. That and the feeling that this is what punk might sound like if someone had jumped on it in the 1950s.
When you take that all in and add the anti-shoe gazing performances that ignite these guys on a live stage, it's hard to beat back what is going on here behind the buzz. These guys are into making music, the kind that easily finds a niche between finger snaps and overproduced theatrics. It's real.
Definitely pick up You Girl and Let Her Go off the EP. And then add in The Wolf off the collection mentioned. Got No Home carries the energy, but Geard sounds too singsongy at times and the organ gets a bit too carnival. Sleeping Around At Night hits that 1950s sentiment too much, with a little surf chords tossed into the mix. Mystics makes for a great moody starter that busts loose into recklessness.
Let Her Go By Sissy And The Blisters Blisters At 7.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
Separate out the songs and the score would have been dramatically different. Likewise, off some future live album with Sissy and The Blisters jumping up Got No Home and Sleeping Around At Night, they'll sound even better too. Otherwise, there are three, maybe four songs that propel these guys forward because they take the least safest road. We need more of it.
All together, Sissy and The Blisters have eight tracks out on the market. You can find You Girl, Let Her Go, and Mystics on the new EP, Let Her Go, on iTunes. Also on iTunes, you can find the single or, even better, The Wolf off the In The City Unsigned Collection. The Let Her Go EP is also on Amazon.