You can say a band is ear-catching, but it’s hard to prove scientifically. So when I say Sari Schorr’s second album, Never Say Never, is positively engrossing, it’s understandable if you’re skeptical. So, for research purposes, I’ll mention that this was playing while my ten-months-pregnant wife thought she might be in labor. And upon hearing it, it caused her to stop and ask “Who is this?”
It was Sari Schorr, a Queens, New York-born singer. She has a husky voice, a la Melissa Etheridge. What separates Schorr from other singers is her intensity, which makes it feel like every note she sings might be her last one. It all creates a huge presence that’s almost more gravitational pull than sound. She leaves absolutely nothing on the table, vocally, over the course of 11 songs.
The other factor that makes Never Say Never so good is her band, specifically guitarist Ash Wilson (who is also a solo artist). Wilson is given lots of freedom on the album and he takes advantage, establishing the guitar as a very strong secondary character across the album.
Much of the album is pop-soaked blues rock. “Valentina” is propulsive, with Wilson’s rocking guitars driving the track. But Schorr’s voice soars through the anthemic chorus, creating pure, melodic power pop. “Maybe I’m Fooling” is more of a funk blues that also explodes into a ridiculously catchy chorus. Most of the song’s originals are written by Schorr and Henning Gehrke, her co-producer, and it’s easy to hear they had a complete vision for every song.
Never Say Never does have some mellow(er) moments. “Back to LA” is radio-ready country pop one could imagine hearing from Kelly Clarkson, or perhaps Faith Hill after 10 cups of coffee. “Ready for Love,” a Mick Ralphs/Bad Company cover, is a piano-led ballad with grunge-tinged sadness and bombast. The track is both delicate and muscular. It also features a beautiful piano break courtesy of Bob Fridzema.
Schorr does a fantastic job inserting her passion onto Never Say Never. The album was recorded live and the energy of a live show is there, but the album also sounds deliberate and produced. Anyone interested in a singular singer, a smoking band, and blues rock that you’re going to want to sing along with, will want to check this one out. While I can confirm it’s not birth-inducing, it will deliver fun.
The Review: 9.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Ready for Love
– King of Rock and Roll
– Maybe I’m Fooling
– Back to LA
The Big Hit
– Back to LA
Review by Steven Ovadia