by Greg D'Avis
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Pop Sickle on Under the Influences
C/Z Records

With members of excellent Seattle punk bands like The Gits, Alcohol Funnycar and Coffin Break, you would expect Pop Sickle to be amazing.

You couldn't be more wrong.

Under the Influences seems to be an attempt to cash in by moving away from punk toward a mainstream pop sound. Unfortunately for Pop Sickle, they fall into a limbo between the two sounds, combining the worst qualities of each and ending with a product as inspiring as your average Muzak

Musically, Pop Sickle is usually good, if unexciting. It's standard melodic hardcore, reminiscent of Shadesapart _ easy on the ears, but also easy to forget. The good side of that is when the songs are downright bad _ such as "Noises In the Dark," which could pass for a (shudder) Beatles song _ they are also easily forgotten.

The band really falls down in the vocal department. Rob Skinner is a fine bassist, but his voice is a droning whine that wears thin in about 15 seconds.

Under the Influences has its moments, such as the bouncy "Boise," but the lame vocals hamper any memorable hooks.

Lyrically, Pop Sickle scores a big fat zero. "Adrian," a song about a battered wife, takes a serious issue and makes it sound like the soundtrack for a made-for-TV movie.

Pop Sickle wants to have the best of both pop and punk, but they miss on both counts. Under the Influences has none of the energy of punk and none of the catchiness of pop. Look for it playing in your nearest elevator. -Greg D'Avis

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