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Album Review: Scott Darlow ‘Sorry’


Indigenous singer-songwriter Scott Darlow is an old hand in the world of performance, having spent ten years of his life educating school students on Aboriginal culture and reconciliation through song. Now with his debut album ‘Sorry’, Darlow is hoping to reach many more with his ever-potent social message.

‘Sorry’ is a collection of tear-soaked love songs, showing Darlow’s penchant for emotion in music, broken up briefly by the molten rock core of his opening number Down Like Flies, title track Sorry, and closing number Solid Rock. Down Like Flies gets the album off to a strong start, kicking off with a raw, grunge-heavy guitar melody and leading into a classic upbeat rock tune. Darlow’s silky vocals smooth over the grit, making it the kind of track that would have been right at home on an angsty teen film soundtrack from the 90s.

Sorry, a stirring alternative to Bieber’s pop-sugar hit by the same name, delivers the full effect of Indigenous cultural influence, opening to a didgeridoo melody beneath deep, stirring chants. Darlow’s poetic lyrics bridge one of the biggest rifts in Australian Indigenous history, the stolen generation: “Across the nation, generations/Feel the sorrow and the shame/Bloodline history, family misery/Look into my eyes and share my pain/We’re dying inside because of your pride”.

Between the title track and the closing number, ‘Sorry’ morphs into a pop extravaganza with track after track of boyband-style sugarComplete with a repetitive chorus and sweet boyish harmonies, Runaway makes for a gentle come down from its heavy lyrical predecessor. As Darlow sings “I’m gonna run away to be with you/I’m gonna run, run, run away” over a background of summery guitar and barely-there percussion, the target audience noticeably shrinks from “most of Australia” down to “lovestruck teenage girls”. For the six tracks following, the album takes on a completely different energy not necessarily compatible with those immune to the formulaic female-oriented pop song.

By contrast, Girl takes on a restless Gang of Youths rock vibe, striking a happy medium between a sappy love song and an intense rock ballad. It balances repetitive choruses with a rousing rhythm, an upbeat guitar riff, and the occasional shot of raw lyrical honesty: “Don’t come back, I’m better off without you/Please come back, you know I really need you”. Complete with a nifty key change, typical pop form serves this track well until the end thanks to a solid dose of rock charisma.

From this point on the boyband formula takes over, using All I Am, Arms of Love, and Secret Self  as vessels for repetitive choruses and sweet, happy-go-lucky melodies. Worlds away from the heavy subject matter of Sorry, All I Am reveals an even softer side to Darlow’s typically restrained vocals, while Arms of Love and Secret Self bring up the rear, complete with plenty of strings and just a little bit of cringe.

Sorrya stirring alternative to Bieber’s pop-sugar hit by the same name, delivers the full effect of Indigenous cultural influence, opening to a didgeridoo melody beneath deep, stirring chants.

After the title, a sweet, fluttering melody is the first indicator that My Love is destined to follow on the previous tracks’ train of thought – “Words cannot begin to say, my love/How my heart cannot even explain my love/If you fall I will be/Waiting there patiently”

Just You injects an extra dose of energy into the love song component of the album, almost reminiscent of a Faith Hill country hit or that adorable opening banger from Shrek 2, Accidentally In Love. Darlow’s vocals are as smooth as ever, working in perfect harmony with the summery guitar and backing vocals.

Finally, the album returns to its rock origins for a solid closing number. The appropriately-titled Solid Rock is so averse to the love ballads preceding it that it could almost pass for another album entirely. Fans of grit, build ups, and killer guitar riffs (think Linkin Park) are in for a good time with this one, and it makes a great finish to the album.

Despite a potential aversion to the tired formulaic conventions of the humble boyband and its produce, rock ’n’ roll fans might just be won over by the energy, intensity, and deftly-spun lyrics of the opening and closing numbers.

Sydney fans can catch Scott Darlow headlining the Yurora Festival on Sunday the 8th of January next year – in the meantime, get your ears around Sorry below!

Album Rating: 3


Written by Jess Martyn