If nothing else, give Sick Electric credit for being somewhat eclectic. Sometimes the four-piece plays cock rock a la the Hives, sometimes they try out post-hardcore, and sometimes they go as quiet as they can. They also deserve props for choosing album artwork that fits their songs on Haywire. They’ve got titles like “Haywire,” “Concerning Gears and Girls” and “Marionette,” and they slapped a lady-robot on the cover. There’s a song called “My Love is a Severed Head,” and a picture of a dude holding a severed head on the back cover. It’s like Haute Tension! Inside the jewel case you’ll find a bloody hammer, perhaps a reference to “Heavy Hammer, Soft Brains.” So, kudos.
Where the band gets anti-kudos, though, is in their songs. The band tries too hard to show its range, resulting in a record that never coheres musically. Sick Electric’s lyrics aren’t too great either, often injecting humor or post-apocalyptic imagery for the hell of it. For example, try out the album-ending title track, a spontaneous surf rock jam whose sole line is “Shit’s gone haywire.”
There are some good ideas buried here – dig that synth sound on “Errors of Electrical Man” – but as is, Haywire sounds like a few friends fucking around. I’m sure these songs are fun to play, but the listening aspect needs work.