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'OK, I'm Sick' review: Badflower's well-crafted, glossy angst

Badflower's "OK, I'm Sick" on Big Machine/John Varvatos

Badflower's "OK, I'm Sick" on Big Machine/John Varvatos Records. Credit: Big Machine/John Varvatos Records

BADFLOWER

"OK, I’m Sick"

BOTTOM LINE Is it edgy and authentic or is it well-crafted, glossy angst? Yes.

Badflower’s much-anticipated debut “OK, I’m Sick” (Big Machine/John Varvatos) is a well-built bundle of contradictions.

As its string of pre-release singles suggests, the Los Angeles rock quartet, led by singer Josh Katz, knows how to make a stylish ruckus. The breakthrough single “Ghost” is a detailed dive into the feelings of alienation that lead to attempted suicide set to a late-‘90s alternative soundtrack. The follow-up “Heroin” compares an unhealthy relationship to a drug, its out-of-control tale told in a swirl of Radiohead riffs and Muse bombast.

It’s compelling stuff, though a bit too sleek at times. With “OK, I’m Sick” executive produced by Big Machine honcho and former “American Idol” mentor Scott Borchetta and fashion designer John Varvatos, sometimes flash gets in the way of emotion. When Katz lets loose, as he does in the anti-Trump rant “Die,” Badflower seems to kick into a higher gear, both with Katz screaming, “Die — like everything you ate, like the American dream” and the band launching into a Rage Against the Machine thunderous groove.

Which path Badflower will take remains to be seen, but “OK, I’m Sick” is definitely a promising start.

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