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July 30th, 2003 Godfre Leung | Music Stories
 

An Explanation of the Sick Lipstick

The new Toronto band is no neo-No Wave knockoff.

     
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The Sick Lipstick's first album, Sting Sting Sting, has drawn comparisons to many bands: early B-52s, the Screamers, Huggy Bear, DNA, the Go-Gos with Darby Crash singing (?!!?), Bis, Le Tigre, the Rapture.

Problem is, the Sick Lipstick doesn't sound like any of these bands.

If you desperately need an accurate reference point for the band's frantic and psycho-sexualized sound, you could try Japanese weirdniks Melt-Banana. But to hit even closer to the mark, you need to exhume long-gone and mostly forgotten mid-'90s Scottish band Lung Leg.

Lung Leg had it all--the sound, the look, the irreverence, the Love and Rockets and Richard Kern references--but fellow Scots Bis got the hit singles on college radio, while Lung Leg's fate was a slew of largely ignored and now out-of-print releases.

The Sick Lipstick will more than make up for this accident of underground musical history. The band updates Lung Leg's peppy 1-2-3-4 rhythms and Japanese girl-pop vocals with atonal guitar work that's at once high-pitched and inescapably dense.

Much has been made of the band's debt to the Contortions and DNA. While it's clear members of the Sick Lipstick have heard the seminal No New York compilation, which introduced the world to the aforementioned No Wave bands, Sting Sting Sting actually testifies more clearly to post-hardcore roots.

Two Sick Lipsticks were part of a seizure-inducing Toronto screamo band called Black Cat #13, and they clearly haven't lost their will to sow chaos while engaging in emotional self-scarification. As the guitars squeak and wail, singer Lindsey (no last name, thanks anyway) chirps away with all the sass of her Scottish forebears, all the while buried in the mix, the way vocals should be in punk rock. In the end, what the Sick Lipstick is becomes a lot more interesting than who the band might sound like.

 
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