Not quite the death metal, grindcore vibe the name seems to suggest, Sicbay is a trio of lads bent on taking elements of Sparta’s sound, dragging them through the dirt and producing an end product that’s a raw recipe of freeform, rhythm-based meanderings.
Vocally, Sicbay is caught somewhere between Henry Rollins and Rancid’s Matt Freeman. But across Suspicious Icons’ 10 tracks, the sound is less about a dominating vocal presence. In order of priority, Sicbay’s cuts offer up relentless, melody-driven guitar play, chaotic stop-start bass and drums and intermittent barks and chants from vocalist Nick Sakes.
Whether you feel it’s quite ready for primetime or not really depends on your perspective. Some would say Suspicious Icons is raw not on purpose, but because it’s what the band’s recording budget allowed for. Yet, there’s something quite refreshing about Sicbay’s approach, regardless of whether it lacks the refinements its sound could benefit from. The standard ‘intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-outro’ has its place in music, and we’d be lost without it, but Sicbay does itself quite a favor by not trying to mold its sound into this age-old format.
The trio might not always produce inventive tunes with staying power, but the rambling rhythms that seemingly operate autonomously and with purpose are compelling enough to give this one a listen.