If you thought female grunge was dead, think again. The Sexual Side Effects put a fresh spin on the chick rock movement started by the likes of Courtney Love and Shirley Manson in the ’90s. The band’s debut EP High Maintenance features the hauntingly complex ballad “Aurora,” as well as the single “I’m In Love With A Girl (But She Used To Be A Man),” which offers a comical tone while maintaining the haunting melodies and slow, deep bass that define The Sexual Side Effects sound.

Photo by Rachel Hall.

Last Saturday, front woman Amber Taylor (read Wrestling with Pop Culture‘s previous interview with Taylor here) and her boys performed at the Atlanta Pride Festival for the second consecutive year, and their raw command of the crowd stole the show. The band’s energy radiated off the stage and the audience was enthralled by the lyrical and rhythmic perfection. When the band launched into “I’m In Love With Girl,” Taylor bounced around the stage, creating an upbeat feeling whilst strumming her guitar intensely. But that tone changed when the band performed the emotionally heavy “All She’ll Ever Hurt,” as Taylor’s softer rhythm conveyed the pain of a broken heart. To further illustrate this heartache, Taylor physically collapsed on stage while continuing to play her guitar in what seemed like a melodic daze. Witnessing the band’s interaction with its fans, it’s apparent that The SSEs make a point of maintaining a connection with their supporters. When asked how they planned to stay grounded as they continue to find success, Taylor said, “We’re all human beings, it’s all relative.”

The SSEs strive to create a sound that is simultaneously familiar and fresh. Taylor’s lyrics remind me of the depth of Edgar Allan Poe, reaching into your soul and creating a longing emotion. Amber’s charisma and charm is captivating, and the band’s talent is unstoppable. Their carefree attitude and touching emotion reaches into fans like a breath of fresh air after being submerged in a generic pool of simplicity. If this is any indication of what’s to come, the world should be happy about what these Sexual Side Effects have to offer.