SURPASSING EXPECTATIONS WITH A SOPHOMORE CLASSIC by Rolling Stone Ind. (Apr'08)
SORE – Ports of Lima (****1/2) ----------
One of the questions that crossed our mind when we heard Sore’s debut album, Centralismo might be, “could Sore do better than this?” It’s a pretty logical question considering the uncommoness of this pop quintet’s first album wherein a new band managed to put such a strong and unique signature on to the music scene.
It was possible that the same question crossed the mind of the five band members, that it took almost three years before they’re back with their latest album, Ports of Lima. While Centralismo can be thought of analogically as a simple film about their love and nostalgic longing for their hometown, Jakarta, Ports of Lima is respectively its sequel with a bigger ambition and budget, where now we find Sore traveling on the uncharted territories. Ramondo Gascaro’s (keyboardist) and Bemby Gusti’s (drummer) experience as composers for films like “Love for Share” and “Quickie Express” apparently infuse the grand cinematic breath on the song “Vrijemann” that tells about “the dirty freeman in the land of happiness/forgetful of the nature’s equilibrium”.
Quite a few things can be said if we’re asked to describe Sore’s music in Ports of Lima. They created music for the brain cells as they fool around with changing tempos and Awan Garnida’s Mccartney-ish bass lines in “Come By Sanjurou”, which reminds us as well of the music from those 1970’s spy films. They created music that touches your heart, as you hear in the short dialogue between Ade Paloh, the dominant song-writer and vocalist in Sore, and his little son in the song “Ernestito.” They even created a song for the flesh, in the form of “Karolina” with its layers of sensual voices. Reza Dwiputranto who somewhat sounded like anomalies before through his 90’s alternative and Smashing Pumpkins influenced songs, now can be heard more in tune with the other members who idolize the Beatles and Steely Dan. His two songs, the gloomy “Merintih Perih” and “Layu” which brings to mind New Pornographers, are two of the catchiest tunes in Ports of Lima. Elsewhere his guitar distortions, brings forth an enriching contrast to the graceful “400 Elegi”
Only a few months have passed since we entered the year 2008, but through Ports of Lima, Sore had produced one of the strongest candidates for best album of the year. In addition they’ve answered our question mentioned above in affirmative, and yet it brings us back to the same dilematic question: “could Sore do better than this?” (Hasief Ardiasyah)
PIONEERS OF 'COLLAGE ROCK'
by Jakarta Post (Oct'05)One muggy Sunday night, outside of a cafe in the basement of an office building in the heart of Central Jakarta, five guys sit on the floor talking. As usual, the conversation veers off in the direction of music; the songs just presented at their friends' album launching, then eventually to their own creations.
Ade Firza Paloh, Awan Garnida, Gusti ""Tendy"" Pramudya, Ramondo ""Mondo"" Gascaro, and Reza ""Echa"" Dwiputranto are Sore, the newest phenomena in Indonesia's indy scene, and one of the top five bands in Asia, according to Time magazine.
"We really respect the Brandals, they're nice guys, and incredibly down to earth,"" said Ade of the band they had been moshing to all evening with the crowd of pre-teens and slightly older folks, who had turned out at Colours Caf.
And from the looks on the faces of the music fans gathering excitedly around Sore that night, the five young men are also perceived as one of the friendliest groups of musicians ever to grace the top spot on Jakarta's radio charts. The band, whose single Lihat has been at number one for the past two weeks, as well as sliding into the same slot on Rolling Stone Indonesia magazine's album chart with their debut Centralismo, greeted everyone equally, shaking hands, asking fans for phone numbers and emails so they could keep them posted on upcoming gigs and releases.
As Bemby boldly put it, ""Honestly, I feel that there are so many bands out there that focus mostly on appearance and attitude, while their creations are ... ugh.""
Ade chimed in, ""The most powerful waves are the calm, gentle ones"", as the rest of the band roared with enthusiasm.
"We just basically focus more on our creations, and let our personalities show through that. We are what we are,"" said the jolly, portly most-of-the-time drummer, Bemby, with a grin.
This group of versatile musicians -- Bemby plays drums, a variety of other percussion instruments and guitar; Ade plays guitar; Mondo plays piano, synthesizer, and guitar; Awan plays mostly bass, and Echa plays guitar -- each double as vocalists in turns on all of their tracks. As well, they are known for inviting in other musicians to enrich their already unique and creative sound.
"We are always open to collaboration,"" said Awan, a Paul McCartney fanatic with a modest smile. ""We see other musicians as brothers. We are always looking for 'temporary members' of Sore to work with.""
Not only do they collaborate openly with other individuals and groups, such as Tika, The Miskins, and Orkes Perguruan Cikini, they compose Sore's own music both singly and collectively. Individually they are shining stars; together they make a super nova.
Keyboardist Mondo is the vortex of their creative process. ""The one thing that maximizes Sore's music is Mondo. Without him, we would not be Sore,"" Bemby said. ""He's like the box we throw everything into, and he glues it all together,"" added Ade.
Either Bemby, Ade, Awan or Echa, or all, will toss chords and words -- the skeletons of a song -- Mondo's way, and he will blend the sounds and ideas from everyone until they become a cohesive whole that the entire band is proud to label a ""Sore creation"".
"All five of us put our anxiety, happiness, sadness, and everything we are into this expression of musicality,"" Ade explains.
Sore's musical products are a pastiche of several genres gleaned enthusiastically from listening to and experiencing the music of the various decades of the 20th century, and culminating in what can only be described as ""collage rock"", a totally new, totally exciting sonic experience. (Paul F. Agusta)
SORE – Ports of Lima (*****) by FHM Indonesia (Apr'07)
It’s not easy to make an album succesor to their debut Centralismo (2005), that received praise in every quarter, acknowledged by a famous regional news magazine as one of Five Asian albums worth buying, and chosen as one of 150 greatest Indonesian albums of all time according to one well known music magazine. But again this quintet of Ade paloh, Awan Garnida, Bemby Gusti, Ramondo Gascaro and Reza Dwiputranto is back to demonstrate their more mature musicianship. Much of the materials for this album were written before the era of Centralismo, in the early days of their existence, from the late 1990’s to early 2000’s. In music as well as lyrical theme, the atmosphere of this album is certainly gloomier than Centralismo. While Centralismo represents the mood of a late afternoon between 4 and 5 PM, this album expresses the mood of an early evening, sometime around dusk. The common idea that binds into a whole the songs in the album is its cinematic concept, as though it’s a movie soundtrack; for example the opening tune “Bogor Biru (Blue Bogor)” that brings to mind the music from the film Badai Pasti Berlalu (A Storm Must Pass) of Eros Djarot, Chrisye and Berlian Hutahuruk. They admitted much of the songs in this album were film-inspired, such as “400 Elegi (400 Elegies)” that was inspired by David Lynch’s Elephant Man, “Essensimo” by Truffaut’s 400 Blows, and “Come By Sanjurou” by Akira Kurosawa. The collaborations with other musicians also add colors to this album, the background vocals of Tika and Ario Hendarwan (the Adams), Aghi Narottama’s (LAIN, Ape on the Roof) guitars, and even a well known arranger Andi Riyanto contributed his piano playing in 400 Elegi and Karolina. (William S.)
Verdict: There aren’t many bands that has such strong musicianship, wherein each member contributes lead vocals and song-writings, when in fact each of them could as well be a solo artist.
BRILLIANT SOPHOMORE ALBUM
by Jakarta Post (May'08)SORE – Ports of Lima (***** out of *****)
Sore's debut album, Centralismo, received praise from all quarters and many people wondered whether its sophomore album would be even half as good.
However, the high quality of the band's second album, Ports of Lima, proves that the quintet is more than capable of rising to the occasion.
The moment I heard the opening track, Bogor Biru (Blue Bogor) -- which is reminiscent of Chrisye's song, "Semusim (One Season)" -- I was in raptures.
Sore was able to produce a wide range of songs, from jazzy ones like "Senyum" and "400 Elegi", to an anime-like song, "Come By Sanjurou". The closing track, Karolina, is a wonderful ending to the collection.
It's been a long time since I heard such a good album; it's been a long time since I played a record again and again. I wouldn't be surprised if Ports of Lima was named the best local album of the year. (Aditya Suharmoko)
EXCELENTE!...AN ALBUM FULL OF SURPRISES by Trax Music and Attitude Magz
SORE – Ports of Lima (****)----------
Phew! That’s the first word that comes right after we listened to Sore’s second album. Mature? Surely. Changes? Here and there. Despite its fewer use of horn instruments and an increasing portion of guitar distortion, compared to Centralismo , Ports of Lima is an album that offers us surprises upon surprises from start to finnish. There are some numbers that catch my attention... First, “Bogor Biru” (Blue Bogor), a composition that flows on without a rest in one swift single motion while rendering us breathless. Bringing back the memory of Badai Pasti Berlalu, Ade’s vocal captures me as if I were a river carried without struggle to the ocean. Then again, in “Merintih Perih” Reza’s cry takes the listener to experience a most profound despair. “Merintih Perih” is like a surgeon knife for those who wish to tear open the sealed journals of past grief. “Layu” on the other hand is quiet a tricky number while flirting with an indie-rockish beat. But again, the courtship between the fuzz guitar and the violins, make the song sounds punchier without entrapping itself deeper in the genre; the analogy goes the same as in Naif’s song “Bye Bye Baby” in their album Television, a different packaging, but the same flavour. Catching a younger audience? Maybe, and it works! Lastly is “Vrijemann”, a composition made for the stage dressed in complete glory; imagine Paul Mccartney sharing spaces with Thurston Moore, playing a new version of “This Boy”, a mersey beat-psychedelia? It’s not impossible. Enough is said, it isn’t easy to produce an album that can make a special place in the heart of its audience, and for this Ports of Lima, they’ve made it! Magnifico! (Wahyu Acum)
SORE - PORTS OF LIMA (**** out of *****)
by Junk Magazine (Jul'08)Genius is not a word to be used lightly. But when it comes to Indonesian band Sore, it’s probably the word most often used to describe them. Those who have heard their beguiling debut Centralismo–named by TIME magazine as one of the five must-hear albums from Asia–would probably think, “How the hell could they top that?” Trust these five left-handed multi-instrumentalists to come up with something even more jaw-dropping than their already jaw-dropping debut.
While Centralismo confidently shows Sore’s technical prowess by leaning towards jazzy and lounge progressions, their follow-up showcases this and even more. Boldly exploring the more esoteric elements of pop and world music without forgetting the fundamentals of classic pop songcraft, and even delving a little bit into film scoring styles, the Sore we get from this album is like the bastard child of late 60s and 70s era Beach Boys, Van Dyke Parks, Os Mutantes and 70s era Ry Cooder mixed with a little bit of Ennio Morricone and Georges Delerue. The closest modern-day band I can compare them to is the Wondermints, and they’re still not that similar sounding.
Album opener ‘Bogor Biru’ starts things off pretty normally. But then the opening verses of ‘Senyum Dari Selatan’ hit you and you’re straight away reminded of the Beach Boys’ awesome but underrated album, Friends. Barely allowing you to catch your breath, they then take you to the most heart-wrenching tune on the album (and one of my favourites), ‘Merintih Perih’, a beautiful and unimaginable blend of Dewa-like balladry and Friends-era Beach Boys arrangement.
‘Essensimo’, one of four English tunes on the album, shows off Sore’s obsession with film soundtracks with the band playing the main melody for Jean Constantin’s score to the classic Francois Truffaut film The 400 Blows towards the end of the song. Another highlight is ‘Layu’, the most upbeat song on the album and a prime candidate as a radio hit, is probably the closest we’ll ever get to hearing a New Pornographers-like song sung in Indonesian. ‘Setengah Lima’ then follows with a chorus so gorgeous you’d feel like weeping. It’s criminal how melodic and catchy these songs are, yet complicated and complex. Genius!
If you like this, also check out Wondermints, The Beach Boys, Os Mutantes. (Aidil)
SORE – CENTRALISMO RANKED 40/150. by Rolling Stone Ind. (Dec'07)
SORE – Centralismo, ranks 40th in the 150 Greatest Indonesian Albums of All Time..
The embryo of Sore began with the bassist Awan Garnida, guitarist Ade Paloh, and keyboardist Ramondo Gascaro, who started their friendship since they went to the Cikini Elementary School, Central Jakarta, continued when they went to high schools and college in Los Angeles, USA in the early 1990’s, before each of them one by one went back for good to their beloved capital. We can’t realy be sure whether or not they missed their home when they were abroad, but their debut album Centralismo, certainly sounds just like a soundtrack from the life of someone who longs for a much simpler time in Jakarta; it isn’t surprising, by taking into account Ramondo’s and drummer Gusti Pramudya’s experience in writing film scores. In Centralismo we can find various mucical influences meshed together, from Awan’s love of Paul McCartney that inspired him to play the bass left-handedly, to Reza Dwiputranto who brought the Smashing Pumpkin-esque bombastic grandeur into the song “Keangkuhanku (Pride)”. In Sore the eclectisism of each member is blended into a format so brilliant, graceful and warm, as heard in Ade’s vocal in “Mata Berdebu (Dusty Eyed)” that conveys solace while embraced by the beautiful weeping of the string section. There aren’t much music that can be called “timeless” – yet Centralismo is in that rare category. (Hasief Ardiasyah)
FIVE ASIAN ALBUMS WORTH BUYING
by Time Magazine Asia (Sept'05)Sore – Centralismo
The product of Jakarta's suburbs and the American education system, the twenty-something members of Sore have the uniquely Indonesian capacity to sound optimistically world-weary. On their debut album Centralismo, the group has written romantic songs inspired by the old corners of central Jakarta where they hung out as kids. The mellow blend of guitar, piano and strings evokes a retro sound from the late '60s without being derivative. It's an album perfect for those rainy days when all you really want to do is lie back and dream of a simpler time in your life. (Jason Tedjasukmana)