REVIEW: Sick/Sea’s debut album Moral Compass

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Self-defined “jazzy rockers” Sick/Sea will be releasing their first album, Moral Compass, on the 16th of next month.

Moral Compass feels like an extended juxtaposition—an album with a resonating youthful lyrical basis, and yet a definitive level of harshness/roughness in its melodies and overall sound.

The childlike nature of the album is ever present and emphasized when evaluating the track titles.  The names of the five songs on the upcoming release are “Parasite”, “Robot”, “Master Splinter”, “Mermaid”, and “Blinked.” Many of the stories told in the lyrics are based on childhood novels like Treasure Island. Their love of youthful fiction resonates loudly throughout the lyrics of each of the five tracks on Moral Compass.

Yet each of these tracks carries consistent dark melodies covered in heavy vocal echoing and alterations to original sound. When comparing Sick/Sea’s live videos with the sound from this album, it is difficult to recognize that they are the same musicians. Lead singer Audrey Scott’s enticing, raw sound is masked by the heaviness of the recording reverb on Moral Compass. Despite their deep Texan roots, Sick/Sea avoids the clichéd country sounds of their home state for a more trending, indie vibe with bluesy vocals.

Audrey is accompanied by her brother, Cameron Scott.  Cameron adds original and energetic drumming to the dynamic sound of Sick/Sea. The base guitarist sprinkles a certain level of jazzy rhythm to the overall vibe of the album (although Sick/Sea is still defined more by their harder indie rock sound).

This debut album, produced by Atlanta-based recording company Autumn + Color, has a fairly cohesive sound but lacks a definitive originality that keeps toes tapping. On the other hand, the track titled “Mermaid” has a catchy chorus and a more seasoned rhythm.

To promote the release of Moral Compass, Sick/Sea will be heading off on an American tour beginning on the 20th in Chicago, Illinois.  Live footage of Sick/Sea shows the band’s wider range and serious potential in the music industry. By taking away some of the heavy recording sounds, the true promise and talent on Moral Compass may be able to ring more true.

Sick/Sea’s awaited debut album feels like an impressive first step in a long artistic journey. While Moral Compass’s recording may alter some of the original musical talent, it represents a band that is cohesive and, most importantly, young at heart.

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