A retro streak runs through most of the music of Sallie Ford, both solo and with her former Portland, Oregon band the Sound Outside. But it's never been quite as pronounced as on her latest album. Soul Sick is Ford's second LP since the Sound Outside split at the end of 2013, and it's a distillation in many ways, as if Ford ran her songs through a rock'n'roll evaporator to remove any extraneous elements.
Soul Sick is the second solo album from Sallie Ford, who split with her band the Sound Outside in 2014, but in some ways this 2017 album feels more like a debut than its predecessor. Chalk that up to how Ford delves right into personal territory on Soul Sick, a move that is slightly telegraphed by the album's title. Throughout the album, she sings about loss and anxiety, issues that are common to many, but her songs offer a specific, personalized spin on these troubles.
Sallie Ford's Soul Sick is a twangy-soul-power pop song cycle about getting over loss and depression. The production and arrangement is gorgeous: drums right on the beat, jangly guitars, occasional organ brightness. So far, so good. Sadly, the songwriting itself doesn't hold up to repeated listening.
"I've got problems / I think everybody's got them / I could share them / But I don't think you want to know" Ford sings; it's a sentiment that might have a place in chit-chat, but as a lyric, it barely skims the surface.