SORRY ESCALATOR – Single Review: “Generation Winter/Streetcorner Absurdity”

SRYESC artwork

I love discovering new indie bands who make interesting music that leaves a strong impression. And when they have a fun, quirky name like Sorry Escalator, it’s an even bigger treat. Originally from Middlesbrough but now based in Leeds, the UK band was created in 2012 when guitarist Ryan David Welsh and his drummer friend Sean Graham joined forces to become, as they state in their bio: “a noise-rock duo, playing odd shows to a room of around four people.  In the fall of 2013, the sound scientist Shaun Lockwood turned up to track lead guitar at a demo recording session above a bar in Middlesbrough, and he’s never left their side since. Their sound, originally comprised of swelling walls of noise, feedback and whispered vocals, slowly gained rigidity and more poppy elements started to seep into the sound. After several line up changes the band finalized its form, influenced by everything both ugly and beautiful about life and sound.”

Sorry Escalator

Sorry Escalator now consists of Ryan D. Welsh (Rhythm Guitar/Lead Vocals/Lyrics), Sean Graham (Drums), Shaun Lockwood (Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals) and Jamie Hogg (Bass). Their eclectic music style can be categorized as alternative psychedelia/shoegaze, along with elements of alt-punk, grunge and experimental rock. But whatever it’s called, what’s clear is that their sound is like no one else’s.

They released a self-titled debut EP in 2016, and this past April, released a double A-side single “Generation Winter / Street Corner Absurdity” through the new independent label Imagination Engine Records. The label also made the songs available on a limited edition cassette tape. Interestingly, both tracks are almost exactly the same length, at just a few seconds over five minutes.

“Generation Winter” immediately hooks you in with a nifty little bass riff before fuzzy shredded guitars take over, accompanied by Graham’s drums pounding out the hypnotic driving beat. The guitars are mesmerizing, giving the track a retro psychedelic surfer vibe, and I love the occasional bits of distorted guitar reverb. Welsh’s monotone vocals are somewhat overpowered by the music, making them difficult to understand at times, but they fit well with the overall psychedelic feel.

The biting lyrics speak to the current political situation in the UK, but can also be applied to the craziness going on in the U.S.:

Look out your window what do you see?
People frying up in their misery.
Your folk devils, they don’t wash with me.
Your politicised red herring. You spit out your bile,
We run a mile, your wry smile, so so so so fucking vile.

We are waiting ever so impatiently.
Weathering the storm till we can spread our wings.

You broadcast your insincerity.
Red top hacks, lobbyists and daylight thieves.
With their brown paper envelopes they rush to the bank.
Laughing, laughing cash in hand. Stay asleep in a fire.

We are waiting ever so impatiently.
Weathering the storm till we can spread our wings.

You fail to notice we are listening.
You fail to notice you are blistering.
It’s just a matter of time, just a matter of time, just a matter of time.

We are waiting ever so impatiently.
Weathering the storm till we can spread our wings.

Keep the curtains closed. Keep your kids at home.
Keep the curtains closed. Keep the kids at home.

Even more psychedelic is “Street Corner Absurdity,” with Lockwood’s crushing, reverb-heavy distorted guitar work being the dominant feature of this noisy track. Welsh’s jangly rhythm guitar and Hogg’s powerful bass add layers of sound to the mix, while Graham beats out the languid pace on the drums. The piercing guitar solo heard in the background that begins at around 2:55 and continues through to the end is terrific, adding emotional tension to the track. Welsh dreamily sings the lyrics about drug and alcohol addiction:

It’s a sign of the times, 
A daily prescription with no warning signs. 
You don’t question why you just sit and condone. 

As I walk down your street, 
Scripts and vodka bottles lie at my feet. Street corner absurdity, yeah it’s got to me. 

So tell me how things got this way? Forgotten now just like yesterday. Did you play by the rules? Or were you lead astray. 

Just take a look at yourself your throwing stones in your glass house. No thought to the madness while we burn out, yes, yet again. 

(Refrain) yeah I know 
(Refrain) but you, don’t.

Connect with Sorry Escalator:  Facebook / Instagram

Stream or purchase their music on Bandcamp

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