Review by Shannon Shumaker
It only takes a few seconds of listening to Lost In Cyco City before you feel completely immersed in Sumo Cyco’s world of Cyco City. What an appropriate album title, am I right? Once the chorus of the first song, “The Ugly” hits (and hits hard) it’s hard not to completely understand what Sumo Cyco are all about. Powerful and commanding vocals from Skye Sweetnam (AKA Sever) carry the song, keeping energy high, and she is supported by strong, chugging guitar work, electronics here and there, and some mood-setting (though sometimes a little cheesy) sound bites. These are the prominent aspects of Lost In Cyco City, and as the album chugs forward at an unrelenting pace, it just keeps building that powerful energy.
The first thing I found myself thinking upon listening to Lost In Cyco City was that I probably would have never gone out of my way to listen to it, had it not been placed in my lap for review. That being said, I couldn’t be happier that I got the chance to really get to know and enjoy this album. The thing is, Sumo Cyco’s sound is different. Nobody else (or at least nobody else that I can think of, off of the top of my head) is doing what they’re doing right now, and this band completely has their sound down. There is a distinct energy and mood on each song on the album, and while it does make a few tracks sound very similar to one another, it is also a very distinct and established sound - something that takes most bands many years to accomplish. Sumo Cyco’s trademark sound is unmistakable - think Korn meets No Doubt. Yeah, just try to wrap your head around that!
As Lost In Cyco City progresses, there are many strong aspects that stick out, but also a few moments that were a little cheesy, to say the least. Sweetnam’s vocals are absolutely a selling point of this album. The raw, unbridled energy in her voice makes it almost impossible to believe that the commanding frontwoman comes from a pop background, but at the same time, it makes total sense. The vocals in single “Fighter,” for instance, are both seductive and abrasive. Sweetnam’s voice is strong, passionate and powerful, commanding the entire song with ease. Coming from a pop background, she uses these little moments of quiet in the song for soft, melodic parts, but then comes in with growling screams and yells that demand attention. What she does with her voice in this song and in the album as a whole is amazing.
The cheesy, and slightly undesirable parts in the album only really come along with the sound bites and little moments in between songs. The intro for “We Ride,” for instance, feels a little out of place, but when the actual song comes in with a strong guitar riff, groups “whoa”s and soft vocals from Sweetnam, it’s hard not to love it.
Sumo Cyco have created a trademark sound with Lost In Cyco City - one that is chaotic and explosive, but still catchy as hell. It can be a little cheesy at times, and definitely unrelenting (after the album ends, you’ll feel like taking a deep breath because of the rollercoaster you’ve just been on) but Lost In Cyco City is definitely a strong debut full-length. Even more amazing is the fact that the band also has accompanying music videos that tell a story with many of the songs on the album. On top of being well written and well produced, Lost In Cyco City also immerses you in Sumo Cyco’s world, which is just what a strong album should do.
Listen to "Fighter" or "The Ugly"