The Convenience of Indecision
Author: Tony Ware
10/23/2001 | Southeast Performer | Album Review
The first thing any indie rocker worth their Magnet subscription will tell you about North Carolina's Sorry About Dresden is that vocalist/guitarist Matt Oberst is older brother to Conor Oberst of indie darlings Bright Eyes. But while both Oberst's may have the same recognizably affected slur, and now share the same label, Omaha, Nebraska's Saddle Creek, Sorry About Dresden-which also includes vocalist/guitarist Eric Roehrig, bassist Matt Tomich and drummer James Hepler-shouldn't be judged by their associations alone. Afterall, the band-half originally from Omaha, the other half from North Carolina, whose famous college town Chapel Hill the band currently calls home-could as easily be compared to the '90s Chapel Hill sound of Superchunk and Archers of Loaf as the group could Saddle Creek contemporaries Cursive. And while neither are completely untrue, neither give the group its full due. It takes balls to not do what people consider you do best, which in Sorry About Dresden's case is making spastic, awkward yet earnest upbeat power pop as infectious as do-wah-diddy. Try sitting through Sorry About Dresden's first full-length, The Major Will Abdicate (Route 14 Records), and not singing along to "Design and Debris" or "Butterflies." But on The Convenience of Indecision-the group's second long player, and Saddle Creek debut-Sorry About Dresden leans its deliberate dissonance and memorably melodic sound towards more sedate territory. Have no fear, Sorry About Dresden's twin guitar and lung-fraying attack is still exhibited to fine effect on tracks such as the fuzzy, bouncey "One Version of Events" and "Deadship, Darkship," which alternates carousing crescendo choruses with Sonic Youth-like chiming. But for the most part Sorry About Dresden has admirably traded immediacy for intricacy. No disrespect to Sorry About Dresden's former producer, Jerry Kee (Superchunk, Polvo, Portastatic), but The Convenience of Indecision-recorded in Omaha with Mike Mogis-has a previously unfelt warmth and fullness to it, captured best by the lightly plinking piano and gently plucked picking on "It's Morning Again in America" and the pedal steel drenched "Faulty Math, Tired Horses," revealing country influences and emotions besides aggression barely hinted at previous on Sorry About Dresden releases. Indeed, while former Sorry About Dresden releases teemed with sound-like the drunken sprawl of the Replacements-The Convenience of Indecision manages to exude a fullness without sacrificing room for an invigorating breath of fresh air to sweep the recording. Tensely yearning, not just chaotically churning, maybe slowly maturing is what Sorry About Dresden actually does best. That takes balls, too.