The Lowdown: Most times when an irritated audience member feels the need to get their much-needed opinion out there, they’ll throw a tweet into the ether, get two or three likes, and that would be it. But when “#SegoSucks” popped up on the Internet, the band made it their own and ended up embracing that mentality for their sophomore release, the appropriately titled Sego Sucks. Three years after the group’s debut, Sego return with two more members and a tighter, smarter sound.
The Good: Sego are at their most enticing when combining elements of dance, punk, and alternative. Early album cut “Give Me” stands strong as a highlight thanks to Alyssa Davey’s on-point bass work, some delightfully noisey guitar choices, and an oddly unsettling chant of “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” as a main component. However, it’s ultimately when Sego are at their most chaotic that Sego Sucks shines its brightest. The wobbly bass line of album opener “Neon Me Out” could probably give someone whiplash if played at the right volume, and the synergy between the drums and bass in “Whatever Forever” really elevates those nonchalant vocal lines.
The Bad: Sego Sucks doesn’t mellow out as it progresses, but starts shedding its punk leaning and instead leans into vibes of grunge and alternative. “Anvil Hands” and “Buy Time” bring the tempo and energy down to allow the listener a moment to breathe and appreciate some nice guitar work (“Slide down the razor blade to a sea of lemonade,” sings frontman Spencer Petersen). While Sego Sucks is a solid offering throughout, the flow on the second half is definitely distinct from the first, for better and worse. There’s something about the album’s title and early vibe that seems more suited to be 10 straight tracks of gut-punchers.
The Verdict: An irritating trend of music reviewing is when the term “mature” is equated solely to somber sounds and down-tempo choices. This type of mentality would completely discredit a group like Sego’s evident ability to construct an effectively aggressive track with smart decisions made at every turn. The “ah-ya-yas” of “Heart Attack” and swirling grooves of “Shame” come across as engaging decisions from a group that clearly doesn’t want to bloat their material. The self-awareness present not only in the album’s title but also its production choices and lyrical material proves that Sego know exactly what they’re accomplishing. In the least surprising choice of words in this review, Sego Sucks doesn’t suck. In fact, it’s pretty damn enjoyable.
Essential Tracks: “Give Me”, “Whatever Forever”, and “Shame”