Album review: Sumo Cyco – Initiation

Canadian genre-blenders Sumo Cyco detonate a riot of colour and sound on third album, Initiation.

You know how some bands can say as much with the spaces they leave between the notes as the ones they actually play? Yeah, Sumo Cyco are not one of those. From start to finish, Initiation is a breathless blur of energy and action, bursting to its varicoloured seams with metallic riffs, quick-stepping dance grooves, huge pop-tinged hooks and electronic bloops and bleeps. The lyrics to Bystander drip with the frustration and ennui of successive lockdowns, but musically it sounds like all the pent-up energy of the past year has been packed into four minutes of barely controlled chaos.

When their ska leanings show on Bad News and Run With The Giants they sound a bit like early-era No Doubt given a cyberpunk makeover. Singer Skye Sever’ Sweetnam has a touch of the Gwen Stefanis about her – especially when they hit full pop mode on M.I.A. – but she also has an effective growl to match the driving aggression that regularly surfaces. On frantic opener Love You Wrong and the aptly named Cyclone they sound more like electro-punk anti-heroes Mindless Self Indulgence, but with more than enough stripes of their own DNA to make this entirely their own thing.

Lyrically the band weave visions of their own futuristic comic book dystopia Cyco City with themes rooted entirely in the real world. And indeed, songs that veer between internal struggles and a sense of disassociation with the outside world are perfectly suited to the times. There’s a certain darkness to much of Initiation, but this is offset by the constant and colourful musical explosions on a fun and life-affirming third album.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Mindless Self Indulgence, Poppy, New Years Day

Initiation is released on May 7 via Napalm

Posted on May 3rd 2021, 12:07p.m.
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