Sallie Ford’s Raucous Self-Help

The singer’s new album “Soul Sick” is passionate and immediate.


Sallie Ford
Soul Sick
Vanguard
 

Courtesy of Vanguard

The ingredients of Sallie Ford’s stunning fourth album are easy to identify: ’50s teen ballads, ’60s reverb-heavy surf guitar, and plenty of timeless garage rock, among other familiar sounds. (Love those trashy organ riffs!) But that doesn’t begin to hint at the passionate immediacy she brings to these vivid stories of mental health struggles and the attempt to rise above “that feeling when you feel like giving up.” A deceptively powerful singer who splits the different between an earnest folkie and a fiery punk shouter, Ford reveals her darkest thoughts with fearless candor, daring to “imagine the worst that it could be/Fantasize, romanticize, my demise,” in the raucous “Loneliness Is Power,” and confessing, “It’s the feeling of failing that’s freeing,” on the lovely “Failure.” If she bends, Ford never breaks, concluding with the rousing, soul-inflected “Rapid Eyes,” exclaiming, “I need professional help…Gotta try and fix what’s inside.” Soul Sick is a riveting self-help session that could buoy the spirits of others facing their own challenges—and it’s great Rock ‘n’ Roll to boot.

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