Sorry Fish, it’s 2020 and apparently to some Millennials you’re not that relevant anymore. A new generation is more than ready to take over. Sorry could just be one of those bands who leads the revolt, so let’s give their debut 925 a closer listen.
North Londoners Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen have known each other from an early age. For a while during middle school O’Bryen even was a subject to Lorenz bullying but they eventually found out they both loved to play instruments. A friendship was born which also led to a band called Fish, which they directly changed to Sorry after realizing that it was the name of the ex-lead singer of the prog outfit Marillion (yep, that got us laughing out loud). After covering Jimi Hendrix songs, adding a few members and some projects on SoundCloud, Sorry’s debut finally landed two months ago and was deemed by The Guardian as “[…] an unusual, sexy take on modern indie rock”. If you expected the next prog review here we have to disappoint you. Fish and Sorry simply are two very different things. We’re talking 2020 indie rock this time. Sexy indie rock, that is. Sorry.
From the get-go, the twentysomethings make clear that they are all about creating accesibles songs from unusual ideas. Right Around The Clock serves as an amuse-bouche to 925. The riffs are a direct reference to Mad World from the famed UK band Tears for Fears. After hearing it at first we weren’t very motivated to push ahead because Tears for Fears isn’t exactly our cup of tea. Lorenz however gives it’s own twist to it by reworking the melody of the original lines “I’m feeling kinda crazy, I’m feeling kinda mad. The dreams in which we’re famous are the best I’ve ever had”. This sort of tease is appreciated here, so eventually we gave the whole album a fair chance and discovered Right Around The Clock was just the tip of the iceberg.
925 continues with In Unison which brings more tension. A choir and some bombastic violin play seem to set a dark tone, yet from nothing suddenly a playful Deerhoof-like bass-guitar drops in that brightens up the song. These two atmospheres keep interchanging in barely 3 minutes. This sort of structure returns on several other songs on the album like Rock ‘n’ Roll Star that starts out like a Morphine-like jazz rock song but morphs into an effective indie pop song. Sorry doesn’t always break style within songs but also is versatile enough to lay down an airy 90s-style grunge duet with Perfect or a full bodied danceable track like Starstruck. The latter features a lovely atonal guitar riff but also is one of the weaker songs of 925 because of the gagging noises Lorenz makes to prove a certain point about dating ‘famous’ people.
Musically Sorry sniffs around in every corner that indie rock has to offer and also nick a riff, style or lyric from previous generations here and there. Songwriting is a more stable factor on 925. The thematics relationships and love pop up all over. Heather for example is a lovelorn acoustic lovesong that follows the structure of a straightforward ballad. More interesting is Snakes on which things get a bit hot. Here Lorenz sings: “And I never thought about you in your underwear, cause I didn’t really care what was under there”.
Naturally the songwriting fits the stage of life of Lorenz and O’Bryen are in. It’s the complete package however that makes 925 worthwhile. Fuzzy, distorted guitars, an occasional synth or choir mixed with Lorenz hazy vocals, with O’Bryen’s scouring against hers makes the blend complete. Nevertheless we also have to say that this debut isn’t perfect. As a whole 925 lacks direction and some songs sound clunky. Ode To Boy for example seems to be a blend of all the all tracks we heard before. Blending the blend doesn’t seem like a good idea at the ending of the album. On the opposite of that stands More, an irresistible punky, yet very sarcastic take on “modern” adulthood.
925 holds a bit of everything and thus is not a cohesive piece of work. Half-thoughts are thrown against a wall and in the end we suppose 90 percent keeps sticking. On itself that is a very good score, so we have to conclude Sorry’s got talent. It’s too soon to say if some of the original ideas on 925 could be the start of the next indie rock renaissance. Let’s cross that bridge when we get there. For now we all know that the year needs more smiling faces and that is exactly what 925 brings to the table. It’s distinctive, refreshing and is even recognizable for us older youngsters.
Label: Domino, 2020
- Right Round the Clock (4:04)
- In Unison (2:47)
- Snakes (3:41)
- Starstruck (3:28)
- Rosie (3:50)
- Perfect (2:45)
- As the Sun Sets (3:59)
- Wolf (2:48)
- Rock ‘N’ Roll Star (2:50)
- Heather (3:23)
- More (2:22)
- Ode to Boy (2:51)
- Lies [Remix] (4:07)
Review by Wander Meulemans // 300520