400 Blows

Sickness and Health

Written by: DR on 15/11/2011 19:35:16

Established in Los Angeles in 1997, 400 Blows have certainly been around the block. Between 1998 and 2005, 400 Blows released three albums, which afforded them the opportunity to take their supposedly fiery live show on the road with such bands as At The Drive-In, All Tomorrows Parties and The Mars Volta. Now, after six years without releasing an album, 400 Blows are back with "Sickness and Health".

If there were cobwebs that needed brushing off when it came to recording their first album for six years, there is no evidence of any on "Sickness and Health". 400 Blows appear not to have missed a beat, because although they are fourteen years into their career, the passion and anger of this band still burns furiously. Combining elements of punk and noise rock, and driven by an ass-kicking 'rock and roll' attitude, "Sickness and Health" will appeal to more than your usual fans of the genre(s).

The passion of this band is best exemplified in the vocals of Skot Alexander. Although he's not possessed with the best voice out there - or anywhere even close, for that matter - he still manages to sound charismatic nonetheless. Whether the cold, almost chanting-like talking, to the screaming to manic talking to just simple singing, he operates with a swagger that makes cuts such as "The Man Who Danced Himself To Death" and "Sleepless" compelling. Moreover, and arguably just as impressive, the drumming of Kevin Fitzgerald refuses to play simple patterns behind the fucking awesome riffage of Scott Martin, instead crafting its own unique signatures that to contribute to the overall sound, which, quite frankly, belies the notion that there are only two instrumentalists in this band.

After a few line-up changes between the previous release and this one, it could be considered surprising that "Sickness and Health" is as impressive as it is. Nothing about this album suggests the members are still trying to get used to each other, as it's instead bursting with confident and complex song-structures, created by musicians who are obviously excellent at, and passionate about, what they do. Let us hope it won't be six years before the next album.


Download: The Man Who Danced Himself To Death, Black Tie Affair
For The Fans of: "splicing the DNA of Big Business, The Circle Jerks, Helmet and godheadSilo"
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 23.08.2011
Original Recordings

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