Stop 2017 and give the award for the most cathartic album of the year to Create To Inspire. The band’s debut album, ‘Sickness’, is a meditation on depression, anxiety, and misfortune that throws unconstrained emotion against a wall of screeching guitars, and comes away with something that is both tantalisingly real and incredibly pessimistic. Let’s just say that you won’t be spinning this one at your wedding.
It’s ironic that an album that is dedicated to reflecting upon one’s personal imperfections has such flawless production; from the first note of ‘Agony’ to the last of ‘Adjust’, the whole record ticks along like a nuclear clock. But, as we all know with mental health, appearances can be deceiving; issues do not always rise to the surface, and in this surely-accidental collision, ‘Sickness’ feels very much like an album of its time.
“Is it the fear of feeling something / or the fear of feeling nothing?” wonders lead singer Sean Midson on top track, ‘Recluse’. The song is an anthem for the introvert, going on to opine, “I’ve become so comfortable in this house / I’ve become so comfortable / Just not in my skin.”
Music follows lyrics, a series of unrepeated sections that arrive in varying and restless intensities like a discombobulated person cursing themselves for analysis paralysis; or rather, wanting to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. ‘Cope’ concerns the doubts of growing up in a similar way, a full-throated approach backed-up by a simple trebly guitar.
In an earlier interview, Midson and bandmate Dan Fuller explained that in conceiving the album’s themes, they’d conspired to remember some of the worst things that have happened to them, and when they’d finished doing that, they imagined additional things that hadn’t happened yet. This culminates in the penultimate track, ‘Blue’, which concerns the band’s other halves. As Fuller put it, “[Sean] asked me, ‘Can you imagine what it’d be like if we’d never met our girlfriends?’… it makes you wonder if you’d ever find that love and dedication from anybody else.” Finally, we get a sense of something beyond the introspection, and the emotion of the song feels infinitely powerful in their capable hands.
At times, ‘Sickness’ is a black cloud. It won’t make you feel good, and if it moves you it will be in a downward direction, but it’s effective, strongly delivered, and it feels important.
Written by Chris Yeoh (@Chris_Yeoh)