Music Review—Sick Year, Bro!

Artist: Block Parent
Album: Sick Year, Bro!

Canadian punk rock trio, Block Parent, has released their new album entitled Sick Year, Bro!—perfectly capturing their relentless energy and heartfelt comedy.  Hailng proudly from small town Cambridge, Ontario, Block Parent is a three-piece unit focused on playing coming of age, self-deprecating punk rock.  Sick Year, Bro! is a self-released album, featuring Jacob Verkerke on guitar, Jake Dodge on bass, and Zack Dodge on drums, with all three members providing vocals.

The band says, “Growing up is a painful and beautiful experience.  It mutates and morphs ya into the chud loving critter you never thought you’d see reflecting back at ya in a pool of your own vomit.  We hold onto the pains of nostalgia with our beer-soaked fists while we anxiously hide our disdain and discomfort for a scary and confusing world—but we have each other.  We’ll grow old together and we’ll absolutely get weirder.  In the end, all we can do is embrace our flaws, accept our self-destruction, face our anxieties, and hold on to what we love—past, present, and future.  Here’s to you Cambridge, you beautiful and disgusting wretched hive of friendship and isolation.  It’s not much, but it’s ours.”

I have to say—I already love these guys.  Having grown up in small-town Ontario myself, “a wretched hive of friendship and isolation” is a hilariously perfect description.  After listening to the album, I can totally feel the small-town angst that creates Block Parent’s classic punk sound.

Sick Year, Bro! has ten tracks: “Sight for Pink Eyes”, “SUBPAR”, “Helluva Bad Dip”, “Comeuppance Go Downance”, “Riopongu”, “Landry’s Video Kingdom”, “Bill’s Bargain Basement”, “Quick Ask Zoe”, “Take Part or Die”, and “Stixville, Population 111,000 (originally by Deaf Children Playing)”.  If you’re looking for something to relax to, this is not it.  Sick Year, Bro! is aggressive, loud, old-school punk; a cross between older bands like The Descendants, Swinging Udders, or No FX, and new pop-punk like Living with Lions.

The last song on the album, “Stixville, Population 111,000”, is absolutely my favourite—I love when a band includes a softer song on an otherwise intense album.  “Stixville” is just a guitar and vocals, with more of a folk-punk meets gypsy-jazz vibe.  The ultimate small-town anthem, the song captures intense longing for a change of scenery combined with the fear of the unknown: I wonder where I’ll be in 10 years, hopefully not here”.  The disquieted lyrics are in stark, ironic contrast to the upbeat tonality.  “Stixville” is catchy and super relatable, even for those who will never know the specific torture of the existential crisis caused by living in a small-town.

Check out Block Parent on Facebook, Instagram, and Bandcamp.  Stream Sick Year, Bro! anywhere you get your music.


[Article by Jessica Young]