Several acts have put out quick-witted, affecting guitar music this year, including Wet Leg, Dry Cleaning, Nilüfer Yanya and Yard Act. London’s Sorry deserve their place on the mantel, too. The five-piece’s follow-up to 2020’s 925 puts indie, grunge, electronica and balladry through a meat grinder, landing on something that still sounds as nocturnal as their early mixtapes. Lyrically, Anywhere But Here deals in loneliness, love and the anonymity of the city. But there’s enough melodic sweetness in there to make sure it doesn’t feel needlessly sullen.
Sorry founders Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen grew up with YouTube algorithms flicking them from one genre to the next, and, in turn, they swerve between styles on Anywhere But Here. Lorenz has said she wanted to channel 1970s songwriters such as Carly Simon and Randy Newman. The lullaby-like Willow Tree has a bit of the Kinks to it, and you can hear the ghosts of Lou Reed and Daniel Johnston in the melodies and backing vocals of There’s So Many People That Want To Be Loved. The lyrics, though, are pure, youthful dread: “I know that you’re somewhere out there / Getting fucked in someone else’s bed,” Lorenz sings on the dark, downtempo Key to the City.
Songs about the solitude of Covid lockdowns and past relationships were never going to be exactly cheery, and much of this album sounds like a bleary-eyed afterparty, or the grey winter afternoon that follows, where your mind wanders back to an ex. It isn’t perfect, but it’s reflective, honest, funny. And Sorry only seem to be getting better.