February 18, 2019 Badflower – OK, I’M SICK (Album Review)
A band just establishing themselves, the spotlight has been cast favorably upon Badflower. The Los Angeles Rock quartet have already been around the globe and then some, as well as gained attention from top radio and SiriusXM’s Octane thanks to the major success of their single “Ghost.” Now after much anticipation, their debut album, OK, I’M SICK, is slated to finally arrive on Friday, February 22, 2019, through Big Machine Label Group.
Still not sure who Badflower are yet? Well, their combination of emotional rage, descriptive storytelling and distinct sound has gained the attention of others as pure Rock-n-Roll. Looking back, in the early days of Badflower, Singer/Guitarist Josh Katz, Lead Guitarist Joey Morrow, Bassist Alex Espiritu, and Drummer Anthony Sonetti opened up for the twin Pop duo The Veronicas, as well as wowing audiences at both SXSW and South by So What?! This led to the release of their 2016 EP Temper, which saw them named Apple Music’s Artist of the Week. The hustle continued all throughout 2017 and 2018, despite the turmoil of having their tour bus broken into and having to start over, gear wise. Now approaching the release of OK, I’M SICK, Badflower has climbed the Billboard Rock charts, attended festivals as recent as Shiprocked, and have touring plans with Nothing More this coming spring.
For those who are familiar, they are aware the singles “x ANA x” and “Heroin” that have already been released, and have marked a path that gives listeners a glimpse of what is to come. While a collection of the songs relate to the subject of anxiety, each is painted in a different limelight. For example, “x ANA x” describes Frontman Katz’ personal experiences with anxiety on stage, which is a fear that he is overcoming. The hyperactive track is multi-dimensional in its layers, which ultimately build to an explosive introduction to the record. Then the atmosphere in “Heroin” is as eerie as walking through a graveyard within the black of night until the surge of grungy guitars wash out the remainder of the song.
However, the track that has really captivated the world is “Ghost,” the lead single reaching #2 on Mainstream Rock and #1 on Active Rock radio. The emotionally-driven song is one of the best composed on the record: there are guitar tones and notes unlike anything that has been on recent radio, and the purity of Katz’ vocals truly stand out. Why? It is simple, because there is a despair in his voice and relatablity in the subject matter of anyone who ever felt depressed or experienced mounds of loneliness. It reminds us we are not alone. The same intensity is found in “24,” the record’s ballad of growing pains. Though the vocals play calmer, the song musically grows thick and tense, full of cymbal crashes as pleads to die spread into a full-blown suicide note.
If there is one thing Badflower will be known for, it is that thy are straightforward without any hesitation. “Daddy” is hands down the most uncomfortable and unsettling track (and that might be an understatement to the weak). The song holds a pungent smell of filth, which also has a silver-lining of helping so many who have gone through any sort of trauma relating to the subject of alcoholism and molestation/rape. If the listener can grit through the squirmy details of the story, buckle up for the ride of “Die.” Despite being the shortest piece on the album, this political anthem has the fire that we all need right now. Grungy to the max, maybe this track will inspire listeners to want to do something about the plummet of the American Dream.
Immediately after, “Murder Games” carries the same angst while firing up to strong drums and chanting. Badflower are not afraid to rustle some feathers and call out the truth! It carries a great build up and features some rustling chains. Along with this number, “Promise Me” is another favorite. The youthful spin on this sweet love song is noted by the happier tones from the record with a pinch of Hard Rock.
OK, I’M SICK is a collective, bold statement for the band that cries out, “We’re just getting started, and we aren’t going anywhere!” You will be heavily impressed by the debut, high-energy album: there is enough diversity in the tracks yet the record consistently flows with the overall sound. The stories and confessions hold the listener captive, and will make each person want to unleash any best kept monsters and purge all sins. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives OK, I’M SICK 5 out of 5 stars.