francescahall
12th October 2022

Album review: Sorry – Anywhere But Here

The Mancunion reviews London post-punks Sorry’s second album, and it shapes up to be their most vulnerable work to date
Album review: Sorry – Anywhere But Here
Photo: Sorry @ Iris Luz

North London’s Sorry are a criminally underrated band, whose consistent quality has yet to bring them the recognition they deserve. Finding their feet as part of the Brixton Windmill scene that also provided a springboard for bands such as Black Midi, Shame, and Black Country, New Road, the five-piece quietly built a name for themselves for years before releasing their debut album 925 in 2020.

Arguably one of the best alternative records of the year, 925 combined 90s trip-hop and gritty grunge instrumentals with genius lyrical references to Louis Armstrong and Tears for Fears. Now, two years on, Sorry are back with their sophomore album, co-produced by Portishead‘s Adrian Utley and entitled Anywhere But Here.

Opening with the the fast-paced and industrial ‘Let The Lights On’, it is clear from the get-go that this album is going to be more biting and cynical than the last. Much of Anywhere But Here was inspired by lead singer Asha Lorenz‘s increasing pessimism towards life in London, which she describes as “a haggard place”, and this sense of exhaustion and resentment is audible in each note. She sounds more self-assured than she did on the band’s debut, spitting out her lyrics with new weight and clarity.

After the furious energy of ‘Let The Lights On’, the album draws back slightly with ‘Tell Me’. The song begins with Louis O’Bryen‘s gentle, lo-fi vocals, then grows into a menacing guitar-driven track. Asha and Louis sing in unison before a screeching guitar solo comes in, and turbulent drums create a dark, sinister atmosphere throughout.

The third track, ‘Key To The City’, is one of a handful of singles that Sorry have released in the run up to the album, and it is decidedly more pop than the rest of the record. The melody is slick, with Asha’s voice cutting cleanly through the mix: “I know that you’re somewhere out there, out there / Getting fucked in someone else’s bed.” Meanwhile, ‘Willow Tree’ has the kind of lilting, theatrical style characteristic of Sorry’s older material. Its playful drumbeat and sing-song vocals are reminiscent of 925‘s ‘Wolf’ and ‘Heather’.

As Anywhere But Here reaches its mid-point, it takes on a more poignant, self-reflective tone. Asha discusses lost love on ‘There’s So Many People That Want To Be Loved’, commenting on the amount of lonely souls she witnesses daily in London (“I see them in the graveyard walking their dogs / I see them in the nightclubs barking up the walls”) and berating herself for her inability to move on from her last relationship (“There’s so many people that just wanna be loved / But you’re the only pair of hands that I can think of”).

It is one of Sorry’s most vulnerable songs yet, exploring the paradox of feeling alone in a city of almost 10 million people. ‘I Miss The Fool’ continues on this theme: ghostly theremins blended with dissonant guitars as Asha yearns for the one that got away.

Photo: Sorry @ Felix Bayley-Higgins via Press

The vast desolation of London and the wounds of love are motifs that reappear throughout the record, and it becomes clear that Anywhere But Here has allowed Sorry to come to terms with the challenges they have faced since their debut. Like love and London, death and decline are explored several times on the record. ‘Closer’ confronts complex feelings of self-loathing, with harsh, grunge guitars providing the perfect backdrop to Asha’s emotionally stirring lyrics.

On ‘Baltimore’, Asha admits that she doesn’t feel herself anymore after the intensity of the last two years. Similarly, both singers grapple with their mental health issues on ‘Screaming In The Rain’, and their voices sombrely combine as they proclaim: “I’m screaming in the rain again / I feel too alien / Nothing’s making sense.”

The album’s closing song ‘Again’ was inspired by Asha’s mother’s work as a Death Doula, providing end-of-life care to terminally ill patients. Raw and intimate visions of life and death are set to a gloomy bassline and fuzzy synths, which play the band out before fading into silence.

It is a fitting end to Sorry’s second album; a body of work that proves the band are not afraid of confronting their innermost anxieties and laying all bare. Anywhere But Here is mature, sincere, and unguarded: an intelligent step forward from the tongue-in-cheek youthfulness of 925.

4/5.

 

Anywhere But Here came out on October 7, and you can listen to it here.

Francesca Hall

Francesca Hall

Deputy Music Editor

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