Poor Old Lu had a good run in the ’90s as a surprisingly good alternative rock band, and Sin was a record that really showed the band at the height of its power. From the first few chords on the record’s opener Complain, you knew it was going to be good. Complain delivered the goods, a Nirvana-inspired grunge rocker that combined great melodies with guitars that alternated between softly strummed and an onslaught of electrified fuzz. That formula dominates the record, perhaps no better than on My World Falls Down. The song is built around R.E.M.-inspired jangly guitar that gives way to a thick dose of heavy electric guitar in the chorus. It’s truly a great track.
Four songs in, though, Poor Old Lu opts for a light, subdued sound on Slow. It works. It’s succeeded by I Am No Good, which goes back to the soft/heavy formula and might just have the record’s best chorus, dominated by a great guitar riff. And we’re not even halfway through the album. There are some don’t-miss songs on the back half of the record too, including Bliss Is, Ring True and Sickly.
With 13 tracks, there’s a lot of material to listen to on Sin (and even a random clip from an answering machine recording about a missing necklace). Sin is raw and energetic, perhaps a bit rough around the edges. You can certainly tell that Poor Old Lu drew inspiration from a number ’90s bands, including the Smash Pumpkins. However, the band was able to take all those influences, mash it together and create something to call its own.