Saddle Creek | Sorry About Dresden | Reviews


The Convenience of Indecision

Author: A.K. Gold
10/23/2001 | Nude as the News | | Album Review
Sometimes the rock just doesn't rock you like it should. That's the best way to characterize the latest album from Chapel Hill's Sorry About Dresden. Sorry About Dresden writes pretty good songs. They rationally understand and utilize tension and release, they make good use of drummer James Hepler and bassist Matt Tomich's solid rhythm work, and guitarist/singers Matt Oberst and Eric Roehrig ably create a range of guitar sounds and deliver sincere vocal performances. But it always feels like there is a void in their songs. The driving punk arrangement on "One Version of Events," with its so-speedy-no-one-can-keep-up chorus, should have me up in arms jumping about my bedroom and craving a punk show. I want to feel that way when I listen to it. But, for some reason, it doesn't work. The song is broken (or maybe I am), there is something missing and I can't figure out what the hell it is.

And it's not just the hardcore leaning tracks that leave me strangely unsatisfied. The same thing occurs on "It's Morning Again in America," which finds Roehrig sounding strikingly like Crooked Fingers (who I love). The track just lacks the element of urgency that makes Eric Bachmann's dour tales of drunkenness engaging and devastating. The only track on the record where I'm not consumed by this feeling is on "Deadship, Darkship," where the relationship rock song gives way to a devastatingly cathartic confession. Oberst and Roehrig's voices sound like someone is cutting their vocal chords with a knife as they morph Peter Gabriel's early '90s boombox-serenade-worthy line "In Your Eyes" into an honest and brutal explanation. It works, but why don't many of the other tracks? If you know, drop me an email at, 'cause for the life of me I can't figure it out.


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