Way back in 2008 when I started this “music blogging” thing, one of the first gigs I scored was reviewing a live show from all-female trio Adrian and The Sickness for a local Austin site. It was only about six months since I’d moved to Austin, and I had yet to fully explore the local scene’s bands. So here I was a rookie getting my feet wet – really not knowing how to write about music, not really sure what to even look for to write a review, and not knowing what to expect from the band. Yet at the end of an hour-plus long set, it was pretty clear what angle I was going to take in my review. The strongest factor that still stands out in my head today from that performance was the energy. It was the type of oomph that can only come from pure rock and roll. Now listening to the latest from Adrian and The Sickness I hear that immense energy put on track. “B.F.D.” is balls-to-the-wall rock music (so to speak).
Adrian Connor hits shredder mode on all cylinders with kick off “Modern Freedom.” The song is characteristic of the band’s sound as a whole: take The Donnas garage grit, mix it with some Runaways punk-pop prowess, and add a dash of classic AC/DC hellraising. “I’m out of breath. I will not rest. Until I’m dead,” Adrian breaks down on the bridge. At this level of high energy, it can definitely give that out of breath feeling.
While Adrian and her band of Sickness do show a lot of snap, crackle, and pop on that first track, they are a band of no frills. For most of the album they remain on cruise control giving one pulse shattering song after the next. “Talk to Me” has Adrian grinding her guitar to serenade her crush; “Nice Fight” has Adrian grinding to intimidate; and “Not Sure” has her grinding about insecurities with some harmonizing to add spice. The title track “B.F.D.” provides the only moment where the pop overpowers the rock and the whaling guitars take a backseat. A good switch up, but it would have been nice to see the ladies try it more often.
The albums ends the same way it began, with a massive gut punch. This time it’s in cover form as Adrian gives her rendition of sometimes forgotten Golden Earring ’70s gem “Radar Love.” And by closing with a great cover, it points out the key factor of this album. Adrian and The Sickness may not bring anything new to game, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun game. Even without the visual effect of Adrian whipping her blonde dreadlocks around as she feverishly lashes the guitar strings during their live performance, The Sickness can bring the noise and sound good doing so.