Published Feb 21, 2012The Sidekicks have always been one of those aberrantly bright rays of creative light in an often-stale punk subgenre lovingly referred to as Orgcore, defined by its adherence to the Hot Water Music songbook and popularity with Punknews.org readers (plus attendees of the Fest). The Sidekicks' surprising popularity stems from their more straightforward beginnings, but since the release of Weight of Air in 2009, it became abundantly clear that these Ohioans weren't content to be the 8,000th band to rip off Caution in its entirety. Drawing from classic pop and rock influences, alongside recognizable strains of contemporary punk, the act were in a state a flux that has been fully realized on Awkward Breeds. Melding their obvious love of high-energy, catchy punk rock with the nuances and maturity that come from jamming Pinkerton and Wowee Zowee as frequently as Jagged Thoughts, it is a record that flows seamlessly from one song to the next, rewarding a complete listen with a fully formed, front-to-back listening experience. There are up-tempo ragers and minimal, thoughtful slow-burners. Kids with Stressface tattoos and underage Tokyo Police Club fans alike take note: this band are for all of us. Let's party.
Were there lessons learned writing and producing Weight of Air that changed how you approached this record?
Vocalist and guitarist Steve Ciolek: The songs on Weight of Air lyrically were very immediate and directly related to things I was feeling and experiencing at that time. Those songs sort of wrote themselves and a lot of that stuff was just dying to get out. I think this time around, we wanted to take a different approach from Weight of Air, and wanted to make a really thought-out record. I came up with the title, Awkward Breeds and the line it comes from first and before any of the songs were written. From there, I wrote all the lyrics with that specific theme in mind, trying to tie all the songs together to make an argument and portray some more specific stories and thoughts. Musically, I think we learned a lot with those songs because we focused on things like dynamics and tempo for the first time. This time around, those sorts of things came more naturally, which allowed us to devote more time to trying to capture the best-feeling take.
The Sidekicks are a punk band primarily by association and approach. Where do you feel like you fit into the punk community or the wider independent music world as a whole?
Well, we definitely feel at home being associated with the punk community, as we have all been participating in it through playing and hosting shows for several years. Our approach could be considered "punk," in the sense that we try to play with a lot of energy and we keep some things rough around the edges. I'm not sure where we fit into the independent music community; I know that our songs are pretty deeply rooted in classic pop and indie rock, but where that places us in the greater scheme of the music scene is unclear. We are influenced by bands that are considered to be indie, but it seems like a band's inclusion in the indie music discussion occasionally relies more on things like hype and presentation than sound or songwriting. We try not to worry about all this stuff though. We're pretty damn happy with our experiences thus far playing music and just want to play the way we want to play. (Red Scare)