Built To Spill meets Snow Patrol, to be honest: the desperate and strangely gorgeous vocals Steve Ciolek offers up for Runners in the Nerved World recall the canon indie yelps of Dough Martsch, while the rest of the Sidekicks offer a mix of uplifting Superchunk-grade guitar wailing and the euphoric, anthemic alt rock of the dudes who made "Open Your Eyes". It is a good mix.
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We’ve been listening to a lot of Travis in store recently, which has given me an appreciation and a thirst for indie pop vocals that suddenly become unhinged, for singers who wordlessly intone phrases like “HOOOAH”, “WOAAAAH” and hybrid “HWOAAAOOH”. Each intonation has its place, and the Sidekicks -- with their thoroughly motivational, constantly energised pop-punk -- are scholars of the drawn out sighs, emotive howls and summertime harmonies.
‘Runners In The Nevered World’ is a highly referential piece of anthemic gold, recalling the co-dependent sadness of Snow Patrol, the nasal glee of Built to Spill and the rugged guitar faultlines of Superchunk. It dabbles in alt rock and arena rock, with whirring guitars announcing “Jesus Christ Supermalls”, a song which wrestles with big piano chords and wiry melodies that harken back to ‘Keep It Like a Secret’. It’s a confounding mix, but it works well, serving ‘90s nostalgia up with the big, blustery meaning we (by which i mean, me, and like, whoever else agrees with me) all try to put into our lives.
The Sidekicks are capable players and know how to hit with a hook; their guitars dazzle and plenty of wiry riffs get thrown off, including the dual guitars of “The Kid Who Broke His Wrist”, which both do nice things and cross over keenly. This is on Epitaph, and it’s a big smiles, Weakerthans-loving piece of power pop. Go figure, and go dive in a swimming pool while you’re young. Do it to “Deer”, under cover of some glorious, golden-coated harmonies.
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- Runners in the Nerved World by The Sidekicks
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