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Years and years ago (I’m talking 1996, you know) when we didn’t have as much of the internet and things set up the way that they are now, in order to sample new music you could go out and a label sampler and listen to it. I did this fairly often and even got some samplers for free because I worked in a record store (R.I.P. Sam Goody)
On this particular Victory Records sampler was a song called “Giving In, Giving Up” by a band called Catch 22. Well, nowadays, there are two different versions of Catch 22 and Victory Records is no longer really home to the bands that were on that compilation back then or even really bands that sound like that. (Where’s all the punk, hardcore and hardcore punk gone, Victory?)
In a lot of ways, looking back to the first time that I heard The Sorry Shop, I feel the same way about The Sorry Shop only, well, The Sorry Shop isn’t exactly a semi-ska band living in a hardcore and punk world. The Sorry Shop actually could rather easily be put into the shoegaze category, and they have been, but they are by no means what you think of when you think of typical shoegaze bands such as My Bloody Valentine and The Cocteau Twins.
If you ever have the chance- whether you are their biggest fan or biggest hater- you should really check out the second disc that comes with Weezer’s blue album. The songs on there that are rough demos or b-sides can be very much fuzzy and remind me of The Sorry Shop. As opposed to that dreamy, sort of bordering on ambient side that shoegaze can take, The Sorry Shop leans more toward an almost indie-punk-rock style. Their distortion and almost garage pop makes them more akin to Supergrass and Smoking Popes, though they are still quite different from those bands.
Overall, the distorted quality of these songs has a certain sense of smoothness to it, where it just kind of flows, like Sonic Youth. Sure, you can compare The Sorry Shop to other bands, but with this being their second full length I think it’s time to start comparing bands to The Sorry Shop.
It’s as if shoegaze made a deal with indie rock (with a slight hint of punk) and said, “Let’s make something like Supergrass or Smoking Popes or Weezer, only not…” and then they came up with this concept, which probably on paper shouldn’t work but The Sorry Shop pulls it off. If I did Top Ten lists and all that jazz (Which I might at the end of this year, it’s still not been decided), this would definitely be in my Top Ten of best releases from this year so far. If you have not yet heard The Sorry Shop, this could be a good place to start, though I really do just recommend listening to all of their music. If you are already familiar with The Sorry Shop then I’m not really telling you anything you don’t already know.