CD Review: Duff McKagan's Loaded - Sick

CD Review: Duff McKagan's Loaded - Sick
Armoury Records
All Access Review: A

There’s nothing unhealthy about this reissue of Sick, the 2009 predecessor to Loaded’s grungier cousin, the 2011 release The Taking. Two years removed, it hardly seems like enough time has passed for a second bite at the apple with Sick, still in its toddler stage as far as music history is concerned. But, The Taking has apparently taken off, gaining favor even with many who’ve forgotten, or no longer even care, that McKagen used to be in Guns ‘N Roses. So, in keeping with the “strike while the iron is hot” line of thinking, the timing couldn’t be better to revisit Sick and Armoury Records gives us good reason to do so.
On balance, where The Taking is unexpectedly heavy and tilting more towards Soundgarden-like grunge – and therefore, a bit more lethargic in spots – Sick takes its cues from punk and maintains stronger, more aggressive tempos, while still managing to traffic in the thick, punishing rhythms and riffs of metal. Really, when it comes right down to it, it’s a matter of taste in comparing The Taking with Sick. Either you’re a fan of the more metallic dynamics and crushing heaviness of The Taking or it’s the sharper songcraft, faster pace and stylistic variety of Sick that heats your blood. Place your bets on Sick if you want an album that’ll stay with you for a long, long time.
From the nasty grooves and stinging guitars of the title track – and its great line, “You’re like Typhoid Mary mixed with the Asian flu” – that opens the 13-song set, plus two bonus tracks, and shoots right on through the wailing kiss-off “Flatline” and its meat-and-potatoes plate of ‘70s hard-rock and straight into the frantic energy of “The Slide,” to the marriage of surprisingly sweet harmonies and strong melody that is “Translucent,” Sick is relentless in its approach. That is until the touching “Mother’s Day” comes along. Beautifully written, this is Loaded’s Paul Westerberg moment. A wistful lament and treatise on loss and aging that’s neither cloying nor saccharine in its treatment of those themes, it’s the best thing Loaded has ever done. And then comes the runaway freight-train of “I See Through You” and, later, the hyper pogo-stick bounce of closer “No More” to remind everyone that Loaded doesn’t dwell on sentiment for very long.
As for the bonus tracks, one is an acoustic version of Sick’s “Wasted Heart,” the original a slow-building beauty that gets only prettier when stripped down to its essential structure. The other is “Roll Away,” a winning mix of contemplative lyrics and guitars that burn like dying embers in a fire. Throw in a 90-minute DVD featuring the scintillating “Live at the Garage” concert filmed in Glasgow in 2008, a promo video for “No More” and various webisodes, and you’ve got a rich, full package of everything you could want in reissue. Loaded? Yes, this version of Sick truly is just that.
- Peter Lindblad
Official Artist Site:

No comments:

Post a Comment