Hard rock trio Sick Puppies issued their third full-length last month through Capitol. Entwining elements from their past and present, Connect captures the band’s mental state of returning home after five to six years of touring.

The album fires off with “Die To Save You,” a slow and steady track that reflects their heavy rock ‘n’ roll persona. Sick Puppies haven’t veered off too far from their established sound with Connect, but they’re not stuck in the same place either. This album shows some evolvement from the group with the use of different melodies, while the slow, acoustic-driven “Connect” holds a similar feel to their past single “All The Same,” off 2007’s Dressed Up As Life.

“Gunfight” stands out by embracing a strong political tone with thumping drums, driving guitar solos, harsh vocals and lyrics packed with irony. However, my main concern with Connect is that, while they deliver introspective lyrical content, it sometimes walked the line of becoming cheesy. In the second song, “There’s No Going Back,” lead singer Shimon Moore sings, “There’s no going back/When life’s a loaded gun/You pull the trigger/Trigger.” Aside from comparing life to a loaded gun, bassist Emma Anzai’s vocals shine through on “Under A Very Black Sky,” bringing the album to a nice close.

Connect contains a careful balance between hard and soft rock, knowing the right moment when to slow it down and when to turn it up a notch.

In A Word: Balanced

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