White Lung punches, claws, and scraps. They’re out for blood. Sorry? Pssh, yeah right. This debut album hasn’t a single apologetic note. It’s 28-minutes of “fuck you”-punk, played at volatile speeds and with sickle-sharp ferocity. Frontwoman Mish Way is the poison on the tip of that sickle.
Opening track “Take the Mirror” sets the status quo: Way is frustrated, and rightfully so. “I’m tied to the seat/ Stuck with your feet/ Coiled tight, dead around my neck,” she howls. Metaphorically, she’s stuck in a dead-end relationship with some poor shmuck. But it ain’t easy, being the one to euthanize a doomed relationship. Way might seethe and scream things like, “I want away from you,” but she’s conflicted. And that’s why she’s a punk singer. Get it off your chest, girl.
Unlike contemporaries Screaming Females, White Lung sprint through their songs, never letting up for dropouts, breakdowns, or guitar noodling. Sorry is unrelenting. Guitarist Kenneth William leads the assault with aggressive fretwork that compliments Way’s fiery persona, though a lot of his riffs and licks sound similar from one song to another. Consequently, Sorry becomes monotonous in spots, with songs like “St. Dad” and “I Rot” sharing the same template.
The album’s brevity works to its favor, however. On each song, White Lung comes in, unleashes a couple minutes of post-hardcore brutality, and then retreats before the listener has become totally exhausted or bored.“Bad Way” epitomizes this; Way latches to her strongest vocal hook during the chorus (she sings instead of screams) while drummer Anne-Marie Vassilou bangs on cymbals, and after two minutes of this, the song promptly ends and transitions into the even faster closing track “Dead Beat”. Sorry is sequenced for maximum effect and has been edited to remove all deadweight.
White Lung makes angry music, and Sorry is best consumed when the listener can project some of his or her personal anger onto Way’s. Sure, that concept is ubiquitous with punk rock, but it applies even more to White Lung. For 28 minutes, these songs hit repeatedly and even sound repetitious. Play ’em loud.
Essential Tracks: “Take the Mirror”, “Bad Way”