Sorex: Portrait of a Prisoner 12"

Sorex: Portrait of a Prisoner 12"


Tags: · 80s · clearance · hardcore · recommended · reissues · USHC
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Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sorex released just a single 7” EP – three tracks of no-fi, snotty-yet-abrasive beach hardcore – in a 200-copy micro pressing in 1985, and played a scant dozen or so shows up and down the California coast before fading into hardcore record collector obscurity. Radio Raheem’s crack team of hardcore archaeologists have since managed to rescue Sorex’s elusive EP from the collector ghetto and tack on 17 additional tracks, culled from the band’s 1984 demo tape and sessions for a never released 1985 LP, all accompanied by a 16-page, full-color booklet full of rare photos, flyers and ephemera.

Our take: Another expertly-crafted archival release from the great Radio Raheem Records. Much like the Smart Dads LP they recently put out, this LP is from a total obscurity: Redondo Beach, California’s Sorex. At first listen, Sorex sound almost comically generic, like the prototypical teenage hardcore band from 1980s California. However, when you listen closely (and you have to because these recordings are pretty no-frills, though weirdly their lone vinyl releases is probably the worst-sounding thing on here) you see there’s actually a bit more to them than initially meets the eye. Sure, the lazy comparisons to second-string bands from the same scene like Anti or China White aren’t entirely out of place, but there are a lot of little moments here that catch my attention. In particular, there’s a bulldozer quality to some of their hardcore songs that’s reminiscent of early Agnostic Front—a lot of this music isn’t a million miles away from the comp of early AF material that Radio Raheem released—only with more California-style vocals. And even though some of those hardcore songs are about as full-bore and confrontational as the genre gets, you can also hear a bit of classic punk influence in the band’s sound, particularly in the catchy choruses… I’d be willing to bet good money that the members of Sorex had records by bands like GBH and Channel 3 in their collection, as well as a smattering of the ’77-era UK classics. Yeah, it’s the same stew of influences that fueled literally thousands of similar bands and at the end of the day there isn’t really all that much to differentiate Sorex from the pack, but if you dig diving deep into the sounds of this era, you’re definitely in Radio Raheem’s target audience and you’ll get a big kick out of this LP. Oh, and it goes without saying that the packaging here is as exquisite as every other Radio Raheem releases so far, with a big full-color booklet packed with liner notes and visual ephemera.