Press blurb for Sari Schorr's new album, 'Never Say Never' is headed with "An Album in a Suitcase". It seems her new full-length offering was conceived via peripatetic means. But, I guess that's an inherent part of being a heavily touring musician. Sporadic compositional craft has to be integrated within the context of a peripatetic existence, particularly as more artists and bands claim to make more money from being out on the road than actual album sales in the twenty first century. Expectations garnered from such a preamble would make me believe 'Never Say Never' to be a sporadic and patchy work. Far from it, in fact - this is a well-rounded collection of blues-rock inclined songs that are bound together by a discernible passion. An emotional variance, too, but with a depth and sincerity to those emotions that also bind all the tracks together.
Recorded in Norfolk at The Grange Studios, Schorr was joined on the recordings by guitarist Ash Wilson and bassist Mat Beable. Hammond maestro and keyboardist Bob Fridzema, a onetime King King member, and sticksman Roy Martin are credited as part of the album's core lineup, although it seems a couple of the tracks, 'Beautiful' and 'Freedom', were recorded at Superfly in Notts, with Neal Wilkinson behind the kit and Bennet Holland on Hammond duties. The most important thing to note about the recordings, though, is that they were all captured live in the studio. Rather astonishing, considering how polished and flawless the final product sounds (some overdubs, perhaps?).
What this "live" excursion has permitted, though, is a genuine emotional immediacy and energy. Much of the album's playing time is occupied by songs adhering to up-tempo and mid-tempo impetuses, which are driven along by a raw dynamic. Even the more down-tempo tracks, like 'Beautiful' and 'Turn the Radio On' are fuelled by an energy and passion that feels 100% authentic. As are the two slower paced covers that feature - a version of Bad Company's 'Ready for Love' and the album's title track itself, a number originally composed and recorded by The Small Faces' Ian McLagan.
Schorr's semi-rasped and husky vocals are delivered with equal amounts of passion and power... which is analogised as a boxer hitting an opponent in overzealous press sheet ramblings... or "his opponent" as it actually states - not sure why this analogy has been made as male while referencing the power of a female voice, but still. Either way, there are way bigger voices out there in terms of power and emotional depth - Julie Worland (aka. Krow) immediately springs to mind (it'll take something truly special to equal the might of her vocal performance on 'Demon, I', released earlier this year); and Norway's Agnete M. Kirkevaag continued to deliver astonishingly strong, wide ranging and expressive vocals on Madder Mortem's new album, 'Marrow', unleashed in September. Schorr's voice is fantastic, but I feel the need to point out there are better, if you're willing to delve into other genres.
All in all, though, 'Never Say Never' is a strong album, loaded with sincere emotions, great tunes, a couple of nifty covers, some fine musicianship and a great vocal performance from Schorr. 'Difficult Second Album Syndrome' she suffered not!
NEVER SAY NEVER
Review by Mark Holmes
5th October 2018
1) King of Rock and Roll
2) Thank You
3) Ready for Love
5) The New Revolution
7) Turn the Radio On
8) Maybe I'm Fooling
9) Back to LA
11) Never Say Never
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...a strong album, loaded with sincere emotions, great tunes, a couple of nifty covers, some fine musicianship and a great vocal performance from Schorr."