It’s tough for any young band to record a track that makes a big impact in this age where independent talent has an endless array of options when it comes to breaking into the spotlight, but it’s no small statement to say that it’s even harder to cover an iconic song without borrowing too much from the original, which is something that Dorsten does effortlessly in their new single “I Never Cry.”
A fresh version of the Alice Cooper song of the same name, Dorsten’s “I Never Cry” features sublimely smooth lead vocals, and is as moving and respectful a cover song as they come, retaining the same blustery soul that made the classic so instantly recognizable while updating its somewhat dated stylization to suit a more broadminded and diverse fan base. Anyone who has been following Dorsten and their rise into the spotlight is more than aware of their tremendous depth of emotionality, and it translates remarkably well into this cover even though it was penned well outside of the modern generation.
The master mix of this single is startlingly physical and textured, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call it aggressive. Every part of the instrumentation is light and translucent, giving us easy access to the vocal track and its heavenly harmonies from the get-go. The vitality that we find in the mix rivals anything that the music is producing on its own, and though the combination of these elements makes for quite an intoxicating and surreal sonic cocktail, Dorsten is very careful to avoid the pitfalls of avant-garde experimentation by staying focused on the lush tempo in the hook.
Sophie’s chorus washes over us like a waterfall of melodies, and though they’re potent and collectively stirring, they hold just as much grandeur when stripped down and isolated from one another, which is something that this well-defined mix allows us to do without having to try all that hard. Music enthusiasts could spend a lot of time taking apart this track piece by piece if for no other reason than to bask in the warmth of its intricate detail, but for my money, I’m more than content to enjoy the cinematic qualities of this song in its completed, polished form.
Hipster folk-rock disciples who love astute balladry of the old-school variety will discover that Dorsten’s “I Never Cry” is a must-listen this spring, and not because of its intellectually provocative framing alone. You can tell that Dorsten put a lot of time and effort into this piece, and though it will always be a cover of someone else’s song, it has an undeniably evocative stylization that is a product of their fascinating inventiveness solely.
I’ve listened to a lot of really good music so far this year, and without a doubt, this is one of the more cutting releases I’ve had the pleasure of giving a spin. Dorsten solidifies their status as a serious duo beyond the realm of the Phoenix underground here, and my gut tells me that it won’t be the last hit single we hear bearing their name.