Sorry bring their twitchy post-punk to The Louisiana.
It was getting dark earlier; icy rain glazed the bus window on the way down to the Louisiana. The right sort of night to be seeing Sorry, then, an idiosyncratic new indie project from London whose name tells you what you need to know about their doubt-ridden and ironic brand of post-punk. Though regret and pain are their métier, Sorry’s music is filled with the kind of venom and snark that’s an antidote to the gloom. Their name can be read as sarcastic: more of a veiled fuck you than a capitulation.
Their music has the kind of self-aware playfulness mixed with sincerity that sets them apart from all the earnest acts that have been in vogue the last couple of years; I won’t name any names (The 1975). In order words, they take not taking themselves seriously very seriously. Their walk-on music was some syrupy easy listening, all log fires and egg nog, before they burst into a wonderfully violent version of Wonderful World. Lead singer and guitarist Asha Lorenz wore a Cossack hat throughout the gig, an appropriately Soviet uniform for their focussed, un-indulgent set.
Sorry take not taking themselves seriously very seriously
The self-awareness is offset, however, by the painful clarity of a song like 2 Down 2 Dance, with its chorus of: ‘you take everything you want from me, / you could never do anything wrong to me’. Sorry describe adolescent romance in all its ambivalence with a deft touch. But then the same song contains the line ‘cliches cloud your cream’, which probably means nothing. Despite the soul-bearing, Sorry know to never be glib.
A highlight was the new single Right Around the Clock. The intro’s glam stomp, punctuated with bluesy saxophone, is suddenly interrupted by a drum loop for the verse. That ingenious melding of analogue and electronic is what makes Sorry so distinctive, and, if this word means anything, just cool. It’s a certified banger and the chorus, cleverly repurposing the lyrics to Mad World to sinister effect, has been snaking through my mind since the gig. The single bodes very well for the new album set to be released with Domino in 2020.
The set concludes with Lies, and the packed-in audience bellow the words. It seems like an oddly despondent and depressive choice for a closer at first. However, the chorus is when the song takes off, the melody rising toward an almost unbearable emotional climax. The crowd bravely attempt to mosh, despite the song’s glacial pace, a surreal sight that probably speaks to the potent emotional release of Sorry’s music. The chorus lyric looks almost naive and simplistic at first: ‘these days I just can’t keep it together […] and life feels like its just based on the weather’. But its power is in its understatement. It directly articulates of a sense of being unanchored that feels all too familiar if you’re young in 2019. Sorry capture that uncertainty so well, and do it with bite.