At times, Sorry’s astonishing, five-star debut album ‘925’ seemed peppered by the kind of nihilistic characters you might meet in the woozy haze of a night-out in the city, whether they were staying up all night with a washed-up ‘Rock N Roll Star’ or demanding “I want drugs and drugs and drugs” on the snarling ‘More’. New EP ‘Twixtustwain’, meanwhile, evoke the kind of thoughts that might plague you during the comedown.
In a recent NME interview, frontwoman and songwriter Asha Lorenz described the record as a collection of “claustrophobic” and “intense” songs that chimed with these times of lockdown loneliness, deliberately repetitive, like whispered mantras to yourself. There’s always been a feeling of circling dread to Sorry’s music, but here the anxiety is ramped up. Again teaming up with producer James Dring (Gorillaz, Jamie T) who also co-helmed ‘925’, ‘Twixtustwain’ contains more electronic experimental sketches rather than the full-blown warped pop of their debut. Yet Lorenz and co-writer Louis O’Bryen’s queasy ennui remains just as potently beguiling and inventive.
Over narcotized beats and a clattering breakdown, the crepuscular opener ‘Don’t Be Scared’ sees Lorenz and O’Bryen vocalise those torturing nagging doubts you might feel while lying next to a partner in bed. That disorienting feeling of a fugue state continues on the cacophonous, discordant squall of ‘Things To Hold Onto’ and the hip-hop-inflected ‘Separate’.
Lead single ‘Cigarette Packet’, fettled-up from a demo from their SoundCloud days, is perhaps the EP’s outlier; a kicking out-time electro-indie track and the nearest thing to suggest that Sorry once rose up in the same scene as Goat Girl, Shame and Fontaines D.C.. “Oh dear oh dear oh dear, what’s gone and been and happened here?” sings Lorenz, eyebrow raised over the rabble. “I can feel it all end at the end of a cigarette packet.”
One of the few criticisms levelled at Sorry’s debut album was that their wry, humorous lyrics and Lorenz’s brittle vocal came off to some as stand-offish, the sincerity often couched in irony. Yet ‘Twixtustwain’’s gorgeous, guitar-led closer, ‘Favourite’, finds Sorry at their most disarmingly raw, as Lorenz sings: ‘Am I your favourite song? Am I your favourite one? I couldn’t explain and put into words all the pain we’ve maintained and put in a box.”
No wonder O’Bryen told NME, “We find it hard when people ask us to define our music.” Just when you think you’ve got a handle on Sorry, they shapeshift again. ‘Twixtustwain’ isn’t a liminal-space EP indicative of the direction they’re heading in, but it’s an outstanding pandemic pit-stop from singular talents.
Release date: April 6
Record label: Domino Recording Company