Album Review: Sickpay – Pureocracy

Sickpay is the solo project helmed by musician Mike Birnbaum through Alien Body Music. And his latest release is a five-track ep, Pureocracy.

Sickpay – Pureocracy a Throwback in the Best Possible Way

Pureocracy opens with Quiet As A Joke. And right from the outset, there’s an instant dose of 90s nostalgia that pulls the listener in. Between the fuzzy, distorted guitar tones and the matching vocal effects, this opening number could easily find its home among 90s staples like Third Eye Blind, Blind Melon, and more.

Certainly, whether it was intentional or not, this opening track appeals heavily to listener nostalgia. And for anyone that came of age in the Grunge/Post-Grunge era of music, this is just what the doctor ordered to give you the throwback hit you crave that’s missing from modern artists.

Sickpay: Pureocracy
Sickpay: Pureocracy – used with permission

Pureocracy is a Pure 90s Mood

Mike Birnbaum continues the journey down memory lane through the rest of this five-track output. And in a lot of ways, tracks like Devoid sound like the perfect mashup between Nirvana and Radiohead. Devoid has that classic Grunge feel with the distorted guitars and raspy vocals. But it also has lighter melodies and sonic soundscapes that one might find on Radiohead classics like OK Computer.

Meanwhile, things switch up on Pureocracy midway through and take on a more Punk tone. And any fans of the Dropkick Murphys are sure to get a kick out of the latter half of the record. Inspired by the dark days of the global pandemic, the Punk roots certainly shine through toward the end of the ep – in all their brazen, high-octane glory.

Sickpay is Worth a Listen

Certainly, it’s no secret that Mike Birnbaum puts all his influences on display on this record. And running the gamut from Grunge to Punk in only five tracks is quite the impressive feat. Because of this, Pureocracy is a concentrated, condensed listening experience in the best way possible – in that it packs quite the punch in a short span of time. Moreover, whether or not this style of music is in your sonic wheelhouse, Sickpay is most definitely worth a listen.

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