Canadian bubblegum pop punkers Real Sickies are quite the prolific band, steadily putting out at least one album per year since 2018’s excellent Get Well Soon. They have great timing as well: Last year, the band released a quarantine album before most countries were even in lockdown. That album featured one of the major quarantine hits, with a chorus that popped up in my head every time I took a look at my bone dry hands – “I washed my hand over 50 times today // My water bill is going through the roof.” Seemingly unhindered by the pandemic, the band today release their latest, and *spoiler alert* greatest record, and it’s not even close. [Post continues below]
The previous Real Sickies tilted heavily towards the ramonescore sound of bands like Teenage Bottlerocket. Love Is For Lovers is the record where Real Sickies take their pop punk to new pastures without throwing away any of the good stuff of their previous work. Similar to Geoff Palmer and Brad Marino, the band finds themselves on the bridge between pop punk, powerpop and rock-‘n’- roll. Here, the band’s size pays off: Real Sickies has six core members, with an organ as an addition to the standard two guitars, bass and drums. Combined with the occasional pedal steel, congas and guest vocals, these songs sound vibrant and powerful and layered. The record was produced by the rhythm section of the Real Sickies, drummer Rob Lawless and bass player Mario Nivea, and mixed and mastered by Terry Paholek. They did an excellent job, giving these songs the right amount of punch and polish.
Of course, when you name your band Real Sickies, your songs have to be contagious as hell. And boy, they are! Communication Breakdown? Massive ramonescore hit. The title track? Earworm pandemic potential. Give And Take? Sweet ballad with guest vocal by Canadian alt country/dreampop star Lucette. I Think Of The Sunshine? Feels like one giant harmony filled chorus. Queen Of Hearts? Arena rock! Solo! Hold On Baby. Is that you Dave Hause?
I don’t believe there is a vaccine to protect you to this onslaught of hits – good luck to your immune system with this one. Fortunately, by the end of the record, you’ll feel reinvigorated, ready for a post-pandemic world and ready to play this record again and again.