BY SARA ALEXANDER | Go Venue Magazine
“Hey, wanna see what happens when I mix Xanax, blow and a MacBook Pro?” – x ANA x
Badflower’s highly anticipated debut album OK, I’M SICK drops February 22. On it, the Los Angeles rock band brings a versatile, genre-defying mix of groovy blues, alternative, hard rock, and more than anything, rage. (Is rage a genre? It should be.)
If you’ve had the chance to see Badflower live, then you already know. It’s raw. It’s angry. It’s sick. It’s like ending up in a bar in the middle of nowhere and finding the greatest band you’ve never heard just laying it down. You suspect they’re going to be big someday, but that’s clearly not why they’re doing it.
Badflower is vocalist/rhythm guitarist Josh Katz, lead guitarist Joey Morrow, bassist Alex Espiritu, and drummer Anthony Sonetti. All songs on OK, I’M SICK were produced by Noah Shain with the exception of “Heroin” (produced by Katz).
Lead singer Josh Katz (A.K.A. the kid with the rage) has a way of singing deep into your insides that translates well on this album. His rage-filled vocals and the creativity and emotion in his lyrics are what makes the band really stand out most. The album covers the topics of suicide, politics, rape, drugs, love, and veganism (to name a few).
“Promise Me” tells of a lifelong love story that is sure to provoke emo nostalgia like no other. “x ANA x,” provides an unexpectedly pleasing shit-show for your ears that’s perfectly on point with the subject matter. “Murder Games” serves as a friendly reminder that ripping the testicles off baby pigs isn’t cool. “Cry” features romantic harmonies that will leave you feeling drug-induced and weightless.
But wait, there’s more.
“Ghost,” the first single from the album, was released last summer and hit number 1 on the charts in October (to no one’s surprise). It’s a raw and haunting account of the temptation of suicide creeping in; songs this powerful happen maybe once in a decade. Eerie, yet beautiful, it’s damn good, and there’s been no shortage of fans stating the song has literally saved their life since its release.
“Girlfriend” is that fun, sleazy, blues rock (with a talk box) that this album needed. I’m sick, but this groove and its raunchy lyrics communicated with chaos vocals are precisely the cure. The song adds a lighter subject to the overall emotionally heavy tone of the album, so if you want a break from feeling depressed or angry, there’s something for you too.
“Die” is the song that may have just gotten Badflower on the FBI watch list. Rock artists have been no stranger to speaking out against Donald Trump, mostly at live shows or on social media, since his decision to run for president, but Badflower put those feelings into in a heavy, badass rock song. It’s a straight-up political rant/death threat(?) that’s anything but subtle. (Nice reference to the failed business that was Trump Steaks too.)
“Daddy” excels in its storytelling of girl sexually abused by her own father. A simple build up leads to the sweetest, most satisfying melody when the chorus hits. I don’t want to get too technical, but I believe the correct term is “eargasm.” Yeah, this song’s layered vocals definitely gives that.
What’s good is really really good, and anything less than that is still really good. In the end, OK, I’M SICK makes for a very fitting title (it’s also a lyric borrowed from “x ANA x”). The band is so versatile in sound and subject matter that I don’t imagine there’s much they couldn’t do well.
Being this is a debut album, the group is certainly one to watch and should be on everyone’s radar. The album is sick, but Badflower’s live shows are where the band shines even more. They’ve already grabbed the attention of some of rock’s biggest bands; catch them on tour this Spring with Nothing More then as direct support for Shinedown.
1. x ANA x
4. We’re In Love
5. Promise Me
10. Murder Games
12. Wide Eyes