“Energy has always inspired us, things that really get you pumping. We play extreme music, sure, but in the sense that we go to all extremes. If something sounds good, then we’ll do it… and that includes beautiful, melodic music, which we all love, too.”
-- Dan Weller, Guitarist, Sikth
The Trees are Dead and Dried Out, Wait For Something Wild
Release Date: August 18th, 2003
Record Label: Gut Records
- Scent of the Obscene
- Hold My Finger
- Skies of the Millennium Night
- Emerson Pt.1
- Peep Show
- Wait for Something Wild
- Can't We All Dream?
- Emerson Pt.2
- How May I Help You?
- (If You Weren't So) Perfect
- Such the Fool
- When Will the Forest Speak?
Surrounded by masses of hype in the UK underground rock scene for months, Sikth had already gained a huge reputation for being one of the most exciting (and most unpredictable) live bands in the UK. With two EPs under their belts and a growing obsessive fan base, the six-piece went into the studio in early 2003 to record their first album. They came back out a few months later with something that is not only energized, unpredictable and utterly random, but also happens to be one of the best and most original rock albums to emerge from the UK for a very long time.
If you want to pigeonhole Sikth into a genre other than rock, you can forget it. "The Trees are Dead and Dried Out..." doesn't really fit anywhere as a whole. Oh sure, you can put a few of the tracks into a metal category of some sort(e.g. How May I Help you?, Pussyfoot, Wait For Something Wild), but there's also the tracks that don't seem to fit anywhere. Skies of the Millennium Night, probably Sikth's finest 4 and a half minutes, turns from a hyperactive-screeching-technical-thrash-noise-explosion, into a soaring-majestic-moving-instrumental-piece, without letting any of the energy float away. Dual vocalists Mikee and Justin Hill provide probably the most bipolar vocals any band has contributed to disc, jumping from Mikee's Capt. Caveman growls, to Justin's soaring, powerful, high-pitched singing in a second (it's even better when they do it together at the same time). You can't summarize Sikth very easily, they jump from one extreme to the next, bouncing off the walls and each other along the way.
And while all this would have been brilliant for 40 minutes on it's own, the band managed to throw in a few surprises. A two-part piano piece (Emerson parts 1 and 2) separates the album into three distinct parts, while an incredibly dark cover of Nick Cave's Tupelo and the experimental acid trip of a track Can't We All Dream? cover the middle part, along with the blistering Wait For Something Wild and the surprisingly radio-friendly Peep Show. How they managed to make it flow so seamlessly with all of that fast ear-splitting metal I'll never know. And then they end the whole she-bang with a spoken word poem (entirely done by Mikee), which works so well with the rest of the tracks it's frightening.
But is it perfect? Well, in short, no. The ironically titled (if you weren't so) perfect and Such the Fool don't share the same energy and unpredictability of some of the other tracks, nor have they retained any of the fury from the EP versions. And Peep Show, while it remains a solid track, can get annoying with Justin's Pop Idol screeching. Certainly skippable after a few listens. All small annoyances aside however, Sikth really do have the talent to make a huge impact on today's music scene, and with this sort of debut it isn't surprising. Ear-splitting yet moving, hyperactive without gimmicks, experimental but eerily accessible - describe it anyway you want. If this is the debut, who knows what direction this crazy sextet will end up going next.
Mikee -- Vocals
Justin Hill -- Vocals
Dan Weller -- Guitar
Pin -- Guitar
James Leach -- Bass
Dan Foord -- Drums