Sadcult – Everything You Hate

 Sadcult – Everything You Hate

Sadcult – Everything You Hate – EP Review

These guys are SO GRUNGE that the last thing they’d ever do is say hello to a critical hack like me on the way in the door…fuck that shit…gotta keep those feelings nicely detached & a flannel-level of cool intact.  The joke’s on them – 99% of the independent scene treats me like a robot anyhow!  It’s too bad though – every so often you stumble across music being made by folks that you instantly know you could share a beer or a bong hit with…for an EP called Everything You Hate, it sure is full of Everything I Usually Like.

Oh well, whatever, Nevermind.  See what I did there?  Yawn.

Like…we’re talking about a band that’s so rooted in Grunge that it’s something us greybeards could easily spot before we’d even push play.  I practically read the title of the opening track and laughed out loud…”Bleach The Freak” you say do ya Sadcult?  Nice.  Perhaps for some, that’s nothing – to me, that’s an indication of a band that’s definitely spent at least a significant portion of time listening to the Seattle scene and knows their history…and in classic tongue-in-cheek sarcastic style, put that knowledge on display right in your face.  After that…if you miss it, it’s really on YOU – but right away, that’s the kind of title that’ll separate the people that know their shit from those that don’t.  “Bleach The Freak” = a combination of Nirvana’s first record Bleach + the song “Bleed The Freak” from the first full length album by Alice In Chains + the attitude you know & love from the scene to make it seem like coincidence even though you know that it can’t be.  If you were born Grunge like I was, right up to the album cover on the EP & the titles of their songs…believe me, Sadcult’s doing less to hide their influences than most would ever dare…which is like…in its own way, the most kickass spin on Modern Grunge there could be.

Wait until they find out they’ve got more in common with the sound of Dandelion than any other band.

Anyhow.  Sadcult’s based way the heck over in the UK somewhere…any Seattle-esque influences you hear or see have certainly traveled miles to get over there across the pond to wherever they are now.  “Bleach The Freak” is the kind of cut that’ll cue you into where the roots of their sound come from, but honestly not as much of a dead giveaway in that regard as the title would imply to a guy like me.  The approach to the recording, production, and mix has tons in common…very much so in fact…but sound-wise, Sadcult actually ends up being able to come out with a recognizable identity of their own intact that doesn’t really borrow too much from any one band or artist.  They know their way around a hook though…and they clearly have a solid understanding of what it was that made the Grunge era connect to millions of listeners around the world with the way the structural dynamics worked & the whole loud/quiet dealio that generally shows up in most tunes from that time period.  Sadcult’s a bit more delicate in that regard…they’ve got an aggressive element to their sound, but through the production you’ll find, that edge gets smoothed out into a much more accessible vibe that many people would be able to hang with…essentially the difference between a raw sound like you’d find on Bleach versus what happened with Nevermind and having Butch Vig at the helm.  Give me Steve Albini any day of the week, but whatever…I get it…accessibility ain’t a bad thing in my books actually; and last I recall, I didn’t even get a vote when Sadcult went to create their music.  The point is…YES…Sadcult IS a Grunge-based band to the nth degree, but they’ve got the more melodically-inclined route to get there, which in my opinion as a guy that thinks that’s one of the most crucial elements of music bar-none, is really only a good thing.  I’d actually go as far as to say that…even though this is a debut EP from Sadcult here…I’d be keeping these guys firmly on your playlists & on your radar folks…there’s a very good chance that within the next couple records they too will make a leap from obscurity and straight into the mainstream whether they want to or not.  “Bleach The Freak” is a catchy cut…that’s not an opinion, that’s an audible fact; and where the majority of Grunge will push the masses away, this is the kind that draws people in.

“In The Sun” was probably one of my own favorite tracks on this EP…and someone in that band knows exactly why that is.  You could look at it from a couple angles…there’s the obviousness of the Silverchair-esque design to the guitars in the verses…but that wasn’t actually what jazzed me the most, because that comparison would stop right then & there at the sparkle of the guitars – that’s all you’ll find in that regard.  Overall, “In The Sun” plays with THE sound we Grungers were all looking forward to, but never actually received…this is what it would have sounded like if we had gotten to that collaboration between Michael Stipe and Kurt Cobain, but unfortunately never did, because like…you know…bullets.  In another random case of what could once again be coincidence – one of Stipe’s first official solo songs from back in the day was actually called “In The Sun” too…it sounds nothing like this and a whole lot friendlier – but if you know your history, you know that Stipe and Cobain did have plans to collaborate together in some way.  Which is too freakin’ bad, cause that would have been the best thing ever, but whatever.  Anyhow – I like what I hear on “In The Sun” by Sadcult…I think they’re probably a bit more effective in the more spacious design of the verse in terms of what’ll likely catch your interest than the chorus…but that’s just my take on it.  I think there’s more meat on the bone in the verses is all…I ain’t saying the main hooks aren’t strong enough to impress ya, they’re still good – the verses are just better is all – and considering that R.E.M. did end up becoming my favorite band over time…I mean…yeah…obviously I’m loving the way the verses sound with that Michael-esque mumble-singin’ as opposed to the grittier chorus.  Even the short guitar solo around the two-minute mark you’ll hear though…listen to the chosen effects on the sound…that’s once again, a move pulled straight outta the Grunge era without any shame, reservations, or clearly any fucks given about hacks like me that’ll quickly point it all out to ya.

The guitar at the beginning of “Absolute Zero” is definitely one of the raddest riffs I’ve heard this year.  Nothing massively complicated – much like the Grunge era, Sadcult’s simply made sure that everything you hear serves a real fucking purpose, and as a result, each element stands out for all the right reasons.  I still think the early R.E.M. influence on the sound is something you can completely hear…it’s displayed in a more aggressive way & with a more modernized production on this Sadcult EP I suppose, but to me, it’s completely there, even if they’re trying to bury it deep on a track like “Absolute Zero.”  Sometimes we write a kickass song, with multiple kickass parts to it, and put in all that effort just to find out one piece of what we created goes onto steal the show…and I suspect that’s a bit of the case here.  Who is really gonna be able to resist those guitars?  “Absolute Zero” is one of those tracks that’s way harder to explain to folks than it is to just listen to it, and recognize with your face-holes that it’s every bit as killer as I’d claim it is…I don’t really know why this song has such a gravitational pull to it, or if that’s just the feeling I personally get as a guy born Grunge.  To me, this is straight-up irresistible, and one of the EP’s best cuts without question…maybe there’s even more identity to Sadcult’s own sound here…maybe that’s it…but yeah…I dunno why I like this as much as I do, other than to say that the right ingredients have been used from the music to the microphone in a way that’s sure to get my attention and have me turning it right up to the rafters.  To be crystal clear, I don’t think there’s a single shitty song on this whole EP…but I couldn’t for the life of me tell ya accurately as to why “Absolute Zero” hits the mark for me more than some of the others in the set – it just does.  I’ve never claimed to be a smart man Jenny.

They’ve got themselves a rad video to support “Hate/Love” – and for whatever reason, I feel like they’ve really lucked out here in the sense that, this might be the first time I can recall where I’ve ended up at YouTube feeling like what I’m hearing ended up being stronger than what you’d hear at Spotify.  I hate both platforms equally at the end of the day…don’t get me wrong…I’m just saying, usually YouTube’s compression algorithms or whatever it is make the songs sound like shit compared to what you’d find at Spotify…but “Hate/Love” came out sounding like it had even more beef to it.  Bonus points to the extra in the crowd with the shirt that says “Sniff Glue, Worship Satan” – that’s a nice touch there boys.  It’s the kind of T-shirt quote that really gets you thinking about the order of things, you know?  Like…would this dude in the crowd get along with someone that worshipped Satan, and THEN sniffed glue?  Do you think there’s a snobbery element to it like that?  Who knows right?  Makes you wonder though…or at least, it makes me wonder.  Anyhow.  You get to follow the adventures of a Furry making his way to the Sadcult concert…and heck, right on…no judgments here y’all – if a bunny suit is how you go about gettin’ your freak on, then so be it.  What I can tell ya for sure, is that I really dig the video…it’s shot brilliantly, it looks killer…the song is…good.  Like I said earlier, y’ain’t gonna find a bad song on Everything You Hate.  Is “Hate/Love” the track I would have personally chosen as the lead-single?  Meh…probably not, but who the fuck am I?  I’ll put it this way…it’d be a really tough call to make, and any choice would have pretty much come down to splitting the tiniest of hairs…it’s really no less single-worthy as any cut in the set would be considered to be, but no more-so either, you follow me?  One of the best things about this entire EP is how even across the board it truly is in terms of what makes these songs great and this band sound as good as they do…I could make an argument for any of these tracks to be the lead-single, and if that’s the case, “Hate/Love” deserves a shot at that spot just as much as any other would.  Tight stuff though…hellz yeah they’re Grunge, but don’t go mistaking that for laziness y’all…Sadcult’s put in the work and they’re getting the results – “Hate/Love” is another reliable cut well worth turning up – or if you’re the more devoted type, worth throwing on your bunny suit and skateboarding across town for.

From “Hate/Love” to “Fake Love” – if y’all don’t like love, or love love, then like…I guess it’s strange to spend as much time writing about it as Sadcult has with two out of their six songs creepin’ on the subject, let alone the fact that they appear back-to-back.  Really dig the drums on this cut…I should probably shout these guys at some point, so let’s do that…GOOGLE MACHINE, who makes this fine-ass noise I’m listening to?  Chad White on the drums you say?  Fuckin’ rights…the dude’s a beast and he sounds like he’s got an iron fist holding onto those sticks to beat his drums with…I’m diggin’ that.  Sam Newland is responsible for the grind on the guitars and the slick melodies you’ll find in the vocals…and you’ve got Oliver Freeman holdin’ down the fort with steady precision on the bass.  They all deserve credit for what you hear on this debut…and if this is where it all starts for Sadcult, rest assured, they’ve not only got me listening in their corner as proudly as any dude in a bunny costume ever could – but I’m already confident these guys are gonna continue to conquer this next decade to follow based on the strengths I’ve heard in EVERYTHING this EP has to offer ya.  “Fake Love” heads closer towards the Australian take on Grunge that Silverchair started I suppose…at least if we’re talking about the pace & heaviness of the start/stop effect.  “Fake Love” bends & contorts brilliantly with that hint of slightly psychedelic sound, mayhem and mischief like you’d hear in Dandelion too though…and they were based out of…hmm…freakin’ Philadelphia…so there’s that.  It’s a combination of gritty, grungy vibes that have crossed the planet in a variety of ways, before settling into the UK where Sadcult is based out of today.

Like I was tellin’ ya from the start…the influences of the Grunge era and the sound surrounding it has been stamped all throughout the atmosphere & aura of this entire EP…and truthfully, it’s what’s had me spinning it all damn week so loud & proud.  You can hear in the bass-lines of the final cut called “Last Song” that they’ve spent their time listening to Blood Sugar Sex Magik as much as the rest of us did…but I do like that this particular influence is much more masked inside a sound that resembles nothing close to the RHCP.  Thankfully!  I still love that record, but I have next to no use for that band beyond Blood Sugar really, and wish they’d just hang up the spurs once and for all, and freakin’ retire.  Comparisons to anything Flea obviously rock, I ain’t disputing that…but otherwise, #TeamPatton – look it up folks.  “Last Song” actually has a lot in common with R.E.M. too when it comes right down to it…they’re once again locked into a dustier melodic style of sound that has its own unique appeal – all in all, it’s really one of the most different songs you’ll find in this set of six that reveals a different side of Sadcult’s sound & capabilities.  I’m all for it, even though I’ve played every other track on this record loud & proud, and I’d fully understand it if folks listening out there didn’t end up quite as attached to this last cut as I am – it’s still important to at least prove to the people out there listening that there’s more to ya than any one style of sound, if only to avoid being pigeonholed into making the same kind of music over & over again.  As low-key as it might be, what I’m saying is, “Last Song” actually ends up opening even more doors for a band like Sadcult and their future than any other track on this record might accomplish…so there’s that.  I think it made for a great ending to what’s been a stellar EP from start to finish…there’s not a doubt in my mind that I’d come back to listen to these guys any time – Sadcult totally makes my kind of music.

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