The Sidekicks

Awkward Breeds

This review originally ran in AP 284.

Cleveland’s Sidekicks have been one of Midwestern punk’s best-kept secrets for the past half-decade, but all that should change with the release of Awkward Breeds. The quartet have dropped any remaining gruff pop-punk influence and instead have embraced their amped-up Americana sound, which falls somewhere between the Gaslight Anthem (“The 9th Piece”) and David Bazan (“Baby, Baby”). Truly beautiful falsetto vocals from frontman Steve Ciolek and pitch-perfect harmonies from guitarist/vocalist Matt Scheuermann are welcome accents to these songs; each element contributes a sense of melancholy and wistfulness that many established bands struggle to include. The Sidekicks really succeed, though, when they play with dynamics and slow the tempos down; “The Whale And Jonah,” with its deliberate pacing and expert crescendos, is one of the most well-written rock songs we’ve heard in years.

Red Scare

"The Whale And Jonah"