Sorry - Anywhere But Here (Domino)

Sorry – Anywhere But Here (Domino)

You have to feel sorry for Sorry. They had built up such an incredible momentum over several years of Mix Tapes and singles and then they tease a debut LP that drops as the world enters lockdown and all promotion and tours in support are chucked in the bin. They were in America as Covid started to sweep the world and they just squeezed in a New York City gig before everything ground to a halt and they sat waiting to fly home.

And the LP was incredible.

It felt at their most recent gigs that they had managed to create a lockdown following as it felt like an event. A packed house with rabid moshing to the 925 tracks. They have subsequently roared back with LP2 in rapid fashion.

It can be a tired old cliché but the second album syndrome can be a problem. Especially when the debut is so universally revered. It was comfortably the best album of 2020, a sprawling opus years in the making. They have had plenty of time to write and record this LP but coming over two and a half years after the debut was released is longer than it feels. We’ve been in a time vacuum.

Whilst there are more pop flourishes on the new LP, Sorry have always existed on the peripheries, hiding in the shadows and observing life, more often than not, nightlife. However this time around the lyrics are much more introspective and personal. Asha came out of a serious relationship and has sunk a large amount of the grief from that into this record, none more so than on recent single ‘Key To My City’ perhaps the best thing they have ever done. Asha is looking out on to London wondering what her ex is up to, whilst telling them they are not moping around themselves. It’s a beautifully dark, trip-hop inflected schizophrenic pop song, that drops out into a Massive Attack/Zero 7 dreamy late night lament.

The record races straight into the darkness of the clubs, neon lights abound but they’re hiding in the corners, ‘Let The Lights On’ is a song to dance and cry to in the wee small hours, the floor is still packed but you’re not happy.

They take it down more than a notch on the tempo gauge, as ‘Tell Me’ begins with Louis’ morose intro, which builds into a duet with Asha with dark and dangerous guitar, keyboards that create an eerie and seedy atmosphere that they specialise in. There’s several sections to it, something they have experimented with on this record and using repetition to create swirling, psych tropes that are where they are at their best. ‘There’s So Many People That Want to be Loved’ is what makes them such an impressive band, this is easily the most pop they have been, but still with their trademark wonk, but this could be performed by anyone in the charts and it would be a smash. Marco Pini is the architect of what makes this so much more than the simple but brilliant pop song it is, adding brass and string samples that takes it to another level.

That and next track ‘Miss The Fool’ were debuted at the Windmill, Brixton fundraiser just as we started to peak over the barricades post Lockdown 1, and released on a limited run. Then it was quite skeletal but there’s plenty of studio tricks to add flesh to the bones. You can almost dismiss it as being too simplistic, but that is also what makes it so good, and the fact that Sorry play it in their ramshackle way and have the added extras to elevate it. Again, this could be a chart smash for a major label darling.

Baltimore’ is another example of where they are adding tangents and making left turns down back alleys, this time ducking into a Funk club. Early doors Campbell Baum’s bass does all the heavy lifting of providing the main riffs.

There’s an air of Abbey Road era Beatles to much of this LP, production wise, bass sounds and the longer proto-Prog codas.

Hem of the Fray’ could be categorised as an interlude, a bridge between styles to ‘Quit While You’re Ahead’ that has Americana inflections.

Screaming In The Rain’ is the pay off. The emotional gut punch. This is where Asha puts her heart on her sleeve, her vocals in the chorus is on the verge of cracking. Live, it feels bigger and louder than here but this allows the imperfections and the real life emote into each line.

Again’ has a similar coda to ‘Oh Darling (She’s So Heavy’ but doesn’t elongate as long as it perhaps should, going for broke could have ended the LP on a perfectly chaotic note.

Asha said in a recent interview that she wanted songs to stand out on their own, which a lot of these definitely do, but one or the things that made 925 so special was that it was like a concept album, a body of work like a suite of songs. Anywhere But Here has everything that is brilliant about Sorry, the song writing is still masterful in the majority of cases, but LP2 had a lot to live up to.

They’re still making the most interesting music out there, no genre is off limits. The most exciting thing is what comes next.

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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.