Edmonton Real Sickies deliver the good, bad and ugly of love

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After the quarantine of 2020, love is what the world needs now, and the Real Sickies point of view was worth the wait.

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Officially released last Friday, Love Is For Lovers is a fast-paced 14-track concept album containing the group’s ideas, anecdotes, thoughts and messages exploring our most complicated emotion.

“Some of these songs came from our early tours,” says Ben Crossman, the Sickies frontman best known as Ben Disaster, “they were just waiting for their hour to shine properly.

“Love is a very deep concept. It’s easy enough to write a concept album about love, but to do it in a meaningful way it takes a while to actually look back at the experiences and not just look at them from your own perspective, try to do them. look more broadly.

The Sickies explore many different aspects of love – the good, the bad, and the ugly – moving from direct experiences of struggling with oneself in dramatically changing relationships to empathy with others and topics like homophobia and transphobia.

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The group has a lot of experience with relationships in many different forms. Since its inception in 2014, there have been different members on each album – this is the fourth full vinyl album and the second with Montreal’s Stomp Records, with a discography enhanced over the years by digital drops and EP. Being long in coming, this album encompasses all the Sickies through the years, active or not.

A big sick family

“Everyone who’s been in this band, at some point, has a representation on this album, I think, and it’s out of love and respect,” Crossman said. “There’s no way we could have gotten or continued to work without anyone’s footwork, whether it was a day, a week, a month, or many years. I think everyone has worked to get us to where we are now. “

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And the Sickies aren’t strictly those who play music, but all those who have contributed to the band’s legacy, artistically or otherwise.

Infinitely creative, Crossman has made some of the most fantastic videos on a budget, collecting various props over the years and applying a lot of imagination and elbow grease. While the title song video comes out today, another for Communication Breakdown, the album’s opening song, came out last month and had the band in an air shed where a battered controller sends the crew of an airplane through wild scenes in time.

Hired Vandals

Later this month, the Destructive Nights / Love Degenerates video will be released and it looks like a treat. The Love Degenerates are a fictional group played by the Real Sickies on the Varscona stage, but Crossman turned to the Edmonton Actors Guild to find Doug and Marlene, the two stars in the video. Another arsenal of collected stage treasures was set up in a friend’s kitchenette dating back to 1984, and Crossman made sure Marlene and Doug were vaccinated, comfortable acting up close and okay with rowdy and destructive behavior.

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“I actually built a false wall, like one side of a garage to spray paint, and then we used it as the backdrop for the Love Degenerates banner,” says Crossman. “I got a message from them shortly after, when I thanked them, and Doug told me he always wanted to vandalize and be able to get away with it.” Knowing he wouldn’t be in trouble, it was a dream come true. So it felt good.

“Even them, we have become very close and I would certainly consider them sick too. We spent two days with them filming and they were champions to work with, they were awesome.

Real Sickies membership was extended with the inclusion of SNFU fame Dave Bacon on I Think of Sunshine, the connection made while Bacon played with The Real McKenzies on a 2020 tour supported by the Real Sickies. And the group went further to recruit Lauren Gillis, the local country dream-pop performer known as Lucette for a duet with Crossman on Give and Take.

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The versatility of loves

It’s a charming, low-key effort that balances out some of the ugliest forces seen when love is lacking, as vengeanly expressed on Tear It All Down.

“I was heading for the jam and saw this truck go by with that swastika flag. And I gave them the middle finger, I was pissed off, like what the fk is doing in my town. And they kind of made a roundabout and tried to get me off the road and they followed me to the jam gap, ”says Crossman, claiming the truck didn’t stay there. long time. “Right after that, we went straight in and started scrambling the song, and it kind of happened. And in a way, it still had to do with the subject of the album, fighting against those people who try to use free speech to the detriment of someone else, and taking away the rights of the people who have them. surround.

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“It’s a 30 second song, I think it probably took 45 seconds to write it.”

The versatility of sound and aesthetics of Real Sickies is as well suited as it gets for exploring love. With all the speed of punk, there are a lot of feelings expressed in the pop bop and do-wop influences that give the band its unique flavor.

Fans ready for the Sickies’ high-energy shows will soon have live love. An album release is confirmed for September 4 at 9910 and tour plans for the album are taking shape. Canadian dates are being worked out for next March, followed by a possible appearance at Montreal’s Pizza Fest before crossing the pond and playing across Europe until June and July next summer.

Love Is For Lovers is available on limited edition vinyl (splash white on pink and splash red on white) via the Real Sickies group page, as well as digital downloads and streaming links on the group’s Stomp Records page.

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