A case of the bonus material showing up the real thing
Almost two years after its initial release, Australian bred/L.A. based alternative/heavy rock outfit Sick Puppies have put together a deluxe version of their third full-length effort, Tri-Polar, in celebration of the album’s overwhelming success. The first disc of this double disc effort is essentially made up of Tri-Polar – a 13 track slab of aggressive alternative metal that showcases the heavier side of the trio’s sound to that shown on their last release (2007’s Dressed Up As Life). But for all the gloss, thick production values and attempts by the band to add a little more aggression to their sound, Tri-Polar is a bit of a hit and miss affair as a whole.
On tracks such as War, Survive and I Hate You, you can’t help but think that the band are trying too hard to give their music an aggressive edge that doesn’t really come across as comfortable. And yet, despite this, tracks such as Riptide, You’re Going Down, So What I Lied and In It For Life do benefit from a heavier approach and sound, if only because the choruses do maintain a melodic and catchy line that is more akin to their older material. Elsewhere, the single Odd One, Maybe and the stunning closer White Balloons are the album’s definitive highlights – particularly the latter where Anzai adds a completely different feel to the song with a greater role on lead vocals.
While the first disc on the Tri-Polar deluxe edition is an inconsistent effort at best, the second disc is something different altogether. Kicking off this 11 track effort are seven tracks from 2010’s Polar Opposite E.P., where the band transformed many of the tracks from Tri-Polar in unplugged/acoustic form, with some additional light orchestration to help fill out their sound. Again, with the aggression turned down, the songs take on a whole new life, and seem to work just that much better. All are quite enjoyable, but the definite stand outs include You’re Going Down, Don’t Walk Away, White Balloons and the band’s breakthrough hit All The Same.
Aside from the unplugged tracks, the second disc also tidies up all of the bonus tracks that were added to the various versions of Tri-Polar. While Dead Space and Til Something Breaks are hardly the most amazing and memorable tracks the band have ever produced, they are at the very least solid enough. The Pretender and Monsters on the other hand are definite winners, and again show that if the overtly heavy handed aggression is toned down, the best of the band’s skills as song writers really does shine through that much more.
Tri-Polar may not have been the strongest album the band has released to date (at this point, that honour is still held by Dressed Up As Life), but with the addition of the bonus disc, it does at least help balance out the killer/filler ratio, with a slight lean more towards the stronger side of things overall in terms of consistency.
If you already own a copy of Tri-Polar, then this deluxe edition is worthy of upgrading to. If on the other hand you don’t already have a copy, then definitely grab the two disc version. In short - The second disc definitely makes this package.
(Virgin Records/E.M.I. Music Australia)