Raging against the patriarchy by writing about their experiences of being women in what used to feel like a doomed music scene, Brooklyn-based pop punks THICK have forged their own path on their latest album, Happy Now. Filled with thrashy instrumentals and anthemic crowd-pleasers, the band – formed in 2014 and comprised of Nikki Sisti (guitar/vocals), Kate Black (bass/vocals) and Shari Page (drums/vocals) – embrace and further their potential throughout their most recent effort.
Upbeat guitars and energetic vocals characterise this concise yet assertive album, which tackles lighter topics compared to their previous record, 5 Years Behind (2020). The first single from the release, ‘Loser’, is a standout. The trio’s vocals are the defining feature of the song, particularly the fade between the solo yelling verses and the group harmonies in the chorus. Their trademark agro-punk overlaid with emotional honesty is blatant here. The single reclaims the term loser: “In music, it’s so easy to feel like a loser and a f*ck up”, comments drummer and vocalist Page. “We want people to know that it’s okay to mess up and that everyone’s a loser sometimes. It’s really the best way to live”. Page’s sentiment is embodied by the track’s lyrical wit: “I love when people tell me I should quit.”
Hints of the band’s early influences have always lent themselves to their releases. The vibrant introduction to ‘Her Chapstick’ wouldn’t feel out of place on a blink-182 record, while several other tracks feel riot grrrl-infused, especially the Le Tigre-esque ‘I Wish 2016 Never Happened’ and the Sleater-Kinney inspired ‘Your Garden’. The latter is a fast-paced song and the crux of the album, compounding the best of the swirling vocal rounds and roaring guitars that the remaining body of the tracks are dominated by.
‘Happiness’ is the perfect opener. The track is rapid in pace, complete with punk rant choruses and melodic collective verses. ‘Tell Myself’ expresses the group’s musical muscle in a slightly more stripped back way. End track, ‘Something Went Wrong’ is another highlight. Its well-paced bass riff is a moment of shine, which shows THICK are as strong instrumentally as they are lyrically. This finale is buoyant, leaving listeners on an upbeat note.
Ultimately, THICK’s sophomore effort is packed with moments of promise. It expresses viable growth from their debut, feeling less like a laundry list of things they’re exasperated at and more like a cohesive story, all without abandoning the perfect blend of guitar solos and layered vocals the group are celebrated for.
Photo Credit: Jessica Gurewitz