Album Of The Week: The Sadies – Colder Streams

Our pick of the week's new releases is the Canadian quartet's bittersweet farewell to their late singer Dallas Good

Back in 2021, Sadies singer and guitarist Dallas Good boldly claimed that his band’s upcoming album was “by far, the best record that has ever been made by anyone. Ever.” It’s likely that Dallas – who co-fronted the band with his brother Travis – was being less than serious, but his tongue-in-cheek proclamation is closer to truth than it is to baseless bravado.

The Sadies "All The Good" Official Video

What Dallas Good wouldn’t have known back then was that he wouldn’t live to see the album released. In February 2022, the inimitable vocalist and guitarist died from a coronary disease that had only been discovered days earlier. The grief and disbelief across the music industry was proof that, though the band were never household names, Dallas Good was held in the highest esteem. Steve Albini called him “a beautiful guy”, F***ed Up’s Damian Abraham called him “a god”, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry (who produced Colder Streams) called him “an utterly unique soul without parallel, timeless musical powerhouse, style icon, consummate gentleman, the perfect house guest and a brilliant musician who spread his talents and abilities as far and wide as his long arms could reach.” You’d settle for any one of those plaudits.

The Sadies "Cut Up High And Dry" Official Video

Let’s not pretend that Dallas Good would have wanted this album to be his last will and testament, but it feels like everything brilliant about The Sadies distilled into a single piece of work. If you wanted to be remembered for creating something, this would be it. Forget Colder Streams being the best record ever, just being the best Sadies record ever would be one hell of an achievement, but it’s all that and then some.

I first saw The Sadies in a basement bar in Barcelona about 10 years ago. To say they were the best live band I’ve ever seen feels like an understatement. They were phenomenal, drenched in sweat, throwing every inch of themselves into every note, whipping the room into a delirious frenzy. Over the years before and since, they’ve released great records, but none that capture that dangerously alive and kinetic feeling as succinctly as Colder Streams. It’s everything you didn’t realise they were missing.

The Sadies "No One's Listening" Official Video

Working with Reed Parry, the Good brothers, bassist Sean Dean and drummer Mike Belitsky turn in their finest set of songs to date and performances that feel right on the edge. Check out that guitar solo that closes ‘No One’s Listening’. It sounds like something’s about to combust. Reed Parry gives it all a grandeur that accentuates rather than overwhelms the band’s dusty, twangy folk rock. The result is a record that feels as out of time as The Band did before them, recasting the band as a quartet of enigmatic time travellers wandering out of the fog in impeccable Nudie suits.

The Sadies "Message to Belial" Official Video

It’s tempting to delve into every song for portents of tragedy to come, but it’s never heavier than the stunning ‘More Alone’ as Dallas laments the passing of his friend Justin Townes Earle, another remarkable talent gone too soon. The restless yearning of Travis’s ‘All The Good’ becomes similarly poignant, while Dallas singing “I’m not worried about you / You should be worried about me” on ‘You Should Be Worried’ or wondering about a better life in the sky on ‘Cut Up And Dry’ are the kind of things a superstitious person would put too much weight on. Even the closing instrumental ‘End Credits’ becomes a sort of echoing eulogy to a fallen brother.

The Sadies - "Stop and Start "- Lyric Video

But all this makes Colder Streams sound like a heavy downer, which it rarely is. So often, people who know the end is coming say they want their funeral to be a celebration of their life, not a mourning of their death. This is exactly the former, a reminder of exactly how brilliant The Sadies were, are and will always be. Nobody wanted Dallas Good’s life to end this way and there’s no comfort in his final record being his best. But is it the best ever made by anyone? Ever? It’s so much closer to that than even Dallas probably intended.

Colder Streams is out now on Yep Roc Records.