Every so often you come across an album which, from the moment the first note hits your eardrums until the last track fades into the ether, you know you have fallen in love and heard something really beautiful that will stay with you long after the notes have faded. This is how I felt when I first heard this sublimely intense and haunting album from Sari Schorr.
The album is Sari’s second studio album and is released on Manhaton Records on 5th October. Never Say Never was recorded in The Grange Studios in Norfolk and features Bob Fridzema (ex-King King) on Hammond and keyboards, Ash Wilson on guitar, Mat Beable on bass and Roy Martin on drums.
If you have read our interview with Sari (https://wordpress.com/post/spinsundaymusicreviews.com/1050) then you will know that this album was a real labour of love and determination and it shines through.
The album starts with King of Rock and Roll which has beautiful tone from the guitar, combining with a slightly other world vibe from the rest of the instruments. The keys really help to add additional texture. Saris vocals are husky and delicious, delivering a powerful punch that is reinforced by the strident riff from Ash Wilson. As the track develops it evokes the crossroads that are being sung about, you can almost picture it due to the imagery created.
Packed with swagger and attitude Thank You is about self sabotage and the ruination of good relationships. The bass is deep and brooding, with a staccato feel that makes you imagine slamming your hand against something in frustration at the situation in which you find yourself. The guitar asks questions plaintively, searching and seeking the answers. As the track builds both in pace and volume you can hear all of the pent up emotion.
Ready for Love is a an emotionally vibrant version of this classic, allowing Sari to shine with the vulnerability oozing out her vocals. The vocals ache with longing, almost whispering at times before switching on their full force. This bought the hairs on my neck to full attention as it is a captivating version of this track.
If you are looking for a track to start your hips shaking then you can do no better than stick on Valentina and crank the volume right up. This is the kind of track that instantly puts a smile as wide as the ocean on your face. Fast paced and dynamic, bags of attitude and swagger. Driving rhythm from bass and drums help to ensure that this is a well rounded track whilst the muscular guitar, shines and elbows its way to prominence. This is another cracking track that begs to be heard live, but be warned – you won’t be able to stand still whilst it is on.
The New Revolution was written in honour of Martin Luther King Jn. It has a kind of 70’s vibe which comes in the main from the Hammond but is reinforced by buzz from guitars and the vocal tone. The drums power in the background, Sari’s vocals call for “Justice for all” and you can hear the strident desire in them. Then the guitar swoops in with a heart pulling rising riff, before the pace drops to a rumbling from the drums and vocals. As the track builds to the end you can feel the drive and power that is contained within.
Beginning with a discordant guitar that builds into a solemn, aching tone Beautiful, brings a lump to your throat. Sari’s vocals are filled with so much emotion, husky and raw, perfectly echoed by the absolutely stunning guitar work from Ash. The bass line is heavy and perfectly balanced with the infill from the drums. This track bought a tear to my eye, reminding us that we are all beautiful in our own way. The slow, quiet power that is portrayed by this track is really breathtaking and it is one of my favourites on the album.
Turn The Radio On is about finding the right man at the wrong time. You can almost hear the cigarettes and good whisky behind the scenes. This track is packed with contemplative vocals that reminded me of Elkie Brooks, especially in the chorus. There is a lovely rhythm from the keys and the bass, with the drums almost like a heart beating in the background.
Maybe I’m Fooling has a sharp, fast paced feel, the drums throb whilst the bass delivers a funky number. The keys drive the messages onward, whilst even the guitar has a a fierce bark to it. Whilst the track builds you will find your hips moving until its climatic end. More laid back Back To LA has a sunshiny, breezy quality to it. It sparkles and shimmers from the guitar, balanced by the drums which add depth. The bass is fluid, adding to the effect from this track. I can imagine this belting out in an open topped car, in the incredible sunshine in LA. You cannot help but start to sing along as this track builds.
Freedom has a much heavier feel, the drums roll with bass winding itself around, demanding to be heard. The vocals are deeper but still seek answers to some massive questions, in this case about gun crime the fear that this brings. You can imagine this being played at a rally on the subject. There is almost a rattle from the guitar before it moves into a fierce riff. The keys are sublime and add an interesting contrast as they have a 60’s flower power feel which is in stark contrast to the rest of the instrumentation.
Never Say Never is a track that was originally written by Ian McLagan (Small Faces, Faces) after his wife’s tragic death. It became part of his healing process and Sari’s hope is that this version will offer comfort to those who need it. Sari’s vocals are soft and thoughtful, the drums bringing context and flavour whilst the guitar adds a haunting quality. The keys bring shimmers of light to the depth of the track, as the track builds so does the intensity of the emotions, which are reinforced with the guitar.
So that is Never Say Never, it has some tracks that will make you smile and others that will make you have a massive lump in your throat and want to call those you love and let them know. It has tracks that compel you to dance and sing whilst others ensure that you will reflect on them. All in all this is a magnificent album that packs both punches and hugs in equal measure. This is sure to be an absolute delight to hear played live so be sure you grab a ticket and the album so in years to come you can say, oh yes I saw Sari Schorr and she was beautiful.
SARI SCHORR NEVER SAY NEVER SEPTEMBER 2018 UK TOUR Tickets: http://www.sarischorr.com/tour
The Musician, Leicester Thursday 13 September Facebook 42 Crafton St W, Leicester, LE1 2DE http://www.themusicianpub.co.uk
Borderline, London Friday 14 September Album Launch with Mike Vernon & The Mighty Combo Orange Yard, Manette Street, London, W1D 4JB http://borderline.london
Mickleton Live Mickleton Village Hall, Durham Saturday 15 September Mickleton, Barnard Castle, DL12 0JR http://mickletonlive.uk
The Robin 2, Bilston Tuesday 18 September 20 – 28 Mount Pleasant, Wolverhampton, Bilston, WV14 7LJ http://www.therobin.co.uk
The Louisiana, Bristol Wednesday 19 September Wapping Road, Bathurst Terrace, Bristol, BS1 6UA http://www.thelouisiana.net
Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd Friday 21 September Municipal Buildings, Gelliwastad Road, Pontypridd CF37 2DP https://muniartscentre.com
The Flowerpot, Derby Saturday 22 September 19-25 King St, Derby, DE1 3DZ http://www.rawpromo.co.uk
The Bullingdon, Oxford Thursday 27 September 162 Cowley Rd, Oxford, OX4 1UE http://www.thebullingdon.co.uk
Blue Funk Rhythm & Blues Club, Poynton Friday 28 September Poynton Legion Club, George’s Road West, Poynton, Cheshire SK12 1JY http://bluefunkclub.wixsite.com/blues/home-new
Wilfrid Noyce Community Centre, Godalming Saturday 29 September Wilfrid Noyce Community Centre, Crown Court Carpark, Godalming, GU7 1DY http://godalming-tc.gov.uk/the-wilfrid-noyce-centre
Official Website http://www.sarischorr.com/#sari-neversaynever