Sallie Ford’s Soul Sick is an album you’ll want on vinyl. The Portland rocker’s second solo project is a bouncy garage surf record soaked in depressed nostalgia. Soul Sick is filled with classic rock ‘70s and ‘80s sounds, blending sweet sadness perfectly—like taking a picnic to a cloudy day at an empty beach. Simply tapping the play button and popping in headphones just won’t do it justice. Ford’s sepia sounds are worth dropping a needle onto.
The album opens with the line “Woke up feeling sour on the sweetest summer day” setting the tone on the mellow jam “Record on Repeat.” The second track, “Screw Up” picks up the Beach Boys breeze in Ford’s voice and the even cheerier tone of the band.
Each track of Soul Sick is progressively more dance-worthy than the next, yet Ford’s loveliness comes from the contrast in her lyrics. It’s impossible not to sway and bounce along to “By myself tonight, mind is going dark. Loneliness is powerful, loneliness is power.” Those who have experienced depression can pinpoint exactly what Ford sings about, but Soul Sick somehow makes you feel good.
Listeners not paying attention to the lyrics in Soul Sick’s single “Failure” may think Ford is singing of falling in love, but her lyrics are the album’s most haunting as she sings of loved ones wanting to send her away for being “crazy” and repeats “It’s the feeling of failing that’s freeing.”
Each track of Soul Sick is progressively more dance-worthy than the next, yet Ford’s loveliness comes from the contrast in her lyrics.
Ford may be the leading lady, but her smooth voice and sad, catchy lyrics certainly aren’t the only things holding Soul Sick together. Her new studio band includes rock stars like Garth Klippert (Old Light) and Kris Doty (Modern Kin) with guest musicians Ben Nugent (Dolorean), Ralph Carney (Tom Waits, the B-52s), Jill Coykendall and Kirk Hamilton. The swaying sadness in Ford’s voice is balanced out with a prominent funky bass, warm guitars, electric keys and upbeat drums.
The ninth track, “Hurts So Bad,” is where listeners may grow tired of Ford’s warbly voice. Those happy to stick along for the ride will find themselves slow dancing and swaying to the rest of the album’s low key sweetness.
8,741 out of 10,000 Rawckus Kung Fu Throwing Stars