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SickWalt - Shove N' Love Award winner

Shove N' Love
by Mike McMahan at 16 May 2021, 3:15 PM

SICKWALT, apparently formed after Walt Novak joined Max Capshaw onstage at the Bowery Ballroom for a four-song performance in 2014, has become somewhat of a New York City legend. The band’s live shows are known to bring down the house, and they have proven to be a rather hard act to follow, over the years. Steeped heavily in the seventies New York Punk sound, this debut album instantly brought acts like THE STOOGES and NEW YORK DOLLS to my mind; but the originality they offer keeps the sound fresh, keeping any thoughts of a “retread” at bay. They are, however, a band that might have felt right at home in the mid-seventies CBGBs scene; and they would have probably been welcomed with open arms.

“Shove N’ Love” is the first full length album offering from SICKWALT. The album follows two prior Eps, in 2014’s self-titled effort, on which Max Capshaw played all instruments, and 2016’s “Get Well Soon”. Their sound has developed nicely since their formation, and this band is as tight as anyone working; I would assume, a benefit of working continuously together as a live unit. The ten songs offered here are vibrant examples of how good music can, and should, be. From the band’s press release: “Between landing in the mental ward, teaching inmates at the infamous Rikers Island prison for MC5 legend Wayne Kramer and his “Jail Guitars Doors” program or partying til sunrise in the back alleys of NYC, SICKWALT wrote “Shove N’ Love” through pure experienced passion.” Yes. That is exactly how it feels.

The album opens with “Demand The Stage”, a sonic blast of a song, with some great guitar work from Middleton and a banging bottom end. Novak’s voice put me in mind of a young and hungry David Johansen, filled with the same fire and emotive lyricism. The song works very well as an opener and sets the tone for the remaining tracks quite nicely.

“Die Like Belushi” is a straight-up Punk anthem, offering no apologies, filled with energy. It hits me that the band is at its absolute best when they are cutting loose in this fashion, and there are many great examples spread throughout this release. The heavy “Million Dollar Man” and “Punk Almighty” (with a nice tip of the hat to the likes of Joe Strummer and Wayne Kramer) are just two more.

If you have ever had interest in any era of Punk Rock, this is an essential release. If not, it’s essential anyway. I would LOVE to see these guys tear up a stage soon. I will bet the experience is other-worldly.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Demand The Stage
2. Die Like Belushi
3. Song For Johnny
4. Everybody Is Lucifer
5. Million Dollar Man
6. Punk Almighty
7. Butcher’s Dog
8. 7 Of Them
9. Hey Devil
10. Love Alignment
Walt “Sick Walt” Novak – Vocals
Max Capshaw – Drums and Percussion
Matt Middleton – Guitar
Chris Pizzolo – Bass
Record Label: Golden Robot Entertainment


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Edited 06 October 2022

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