Angela: SSR Pick: April 28, 2022

Hi Sorry State readers! Hope everyone is doing well. Or at least above average. I realized after the last couple weeks that I just jumped right in to the staff picks and never really introduced myself here. I will keep it brief. I’m Angela. I’ve been an avid Sorry State consumer for years and have accumulated some of my most prized vinyl here. I worked at two record stores a long long time ago in college, and then some more years passed and I became a psychologist. I’m also pretty unconventional, and nothing is more fun than working for a record store. Let alone my favorite record store, and with some really cool people. It’s a pretty ideal gig to be surrounded by music, talking about music, and also writing about it… which brings me to my staff pick.

The Neutrals Bus Stop Nights EP has been flying off the shelves here since it released. I keep a stack of them next to me because I pack them in so many orders! It really is SO good. It’s a straightforward, poppy, jangly, post-punk gem with super clean guitar work and complimentary vocals. Allan McNaughton’s Scot accent is apparent, but it comes to the forefront in the ridiculously catchy song, Gary Borthwick Says. This standout track was love at first listen. It’s a song about a bullshitter type of guy, with great lines like “Gary Borthwick is completely sure he played bass guitar for The Cure.”

The EP accomplishes a lot in only 11 minutes. It’s cohesive, and there’s a thoughtful dichotomy between Side A and Side B. The first side is fun and jangly, with clever punchy lines. Side B is less harmonious, and goes deeper, delving a little bit into new wave post-punk. On the song Pressure of Life, I got a late 70s Cure vibe (think of the album Three Imaginary Boys). The EP wraps up with my second favorite track, New Town Dream. The guitar speeds up, and the band delivers what I think is the catchiest riff and best drum beat on the EP. And then it’s over. You’re sort of thrown out of the car while it’s moving, but you’re not mad at it. You just want to get back in that car. So, by my calculation, you need roughly three spins to feel more satisfied.

So yeah, the only downside to the new Neutrals EP is that it ends. After my very first listen I thought, aww, that’s it? And I can’t think of a better indicator we have something special on our hands. Grab it! You won’t regret it.

Link below to check out the standout track “Gary Borthwick Says.”

Thanks for reading!


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