Sick Friend – The Draft Dodger

written by: February 13, 2012
Release Date: February 14, 2012


From what little information one can glean from their Bandcamp and Facebook pages, Sick Friend is a small band from Montreal, which consists of two guys playing four instruments: guitar, synth, drums and vocals. Their debut recording, The Draft Dodger, is a very quick, nine-song, 20-minute affair that, while not horrendous, is a little too muddled to be wholeheartedly recommended.

The record starts simply enough with “Cottages”: buzzing synths, very simple drums and very poppy vocals make the whole affair very similar to a lot of the dreamy, stripped-back fuzz pop that is so popular of late. The only real quirk here is the way that the vocals speed up and slow down, making use of some heavy syncopation when paired against the very straightforward backing instrumentation. While this is a cool trick, it still isn’t enough to make the song feel really fresh or new. There are a ton of bands trying out this exact style of music right now but with catchier hooks and more gripping backing.

And that’s really the key problem with The Draft Dodger: it’s not a bad album; it’s just that it spends its very brief run time not really bringing anything new or interesting to the table. It just sort of breezes by, not much more than a distraction from bigger and better things.

The one real exception to this is the album’s title track, which is a little less dream pop and a little more rock. The heavier use of guitars on this track works to distinguish the band a little bit. It’s something they should consider trying to do a bit more in the future if they really want to stand out.

Unless you’re punk or ska or some other genre that really favors fast-paced, short snippets of songs, it’s tough to sell an album whose longest track lasts just more than three minutes long. While it’s an interesting stylistic choice that Sick Friend made, the songs here need to linger a little longer, they need to build a little bit more, and they need just a little more grit and substance to really work.

This may have sounded a bit harsh, but  The Draft Dodger isn’t an album to hate; it’s just that no one really needs to hear it. There are clearly a few elements at play here that could be worked into something fun or catchy or really interesting, but as it is now, it’s a little bit undercooked.

Sick Friend – The Draft Dodger tracklist:

  1. “Cottages”
  2. “Seal That Would Fly”
  3. “The Draft Dodger”
  4. “Nothing Tragic”
  5. “No Harm”
  6. “Sleep Late”
  7. “Masks”
  8. “Forest Lawn”
  9. “Millionth Night”