Dorsten unleashes their most brooding performance to date in their all-new single “I Never Cry,” and although it’s a cover of the staple Alice Cooper track, you won’t find the hallmarks of a jaded recreation in this stunner of a song. Vocalist Sophie Dorsten cathartically serenades us with lyrics against a cerebral backdrop that gently pushes along an opulent instrumental section that is as poignant as it is evocative and vibrant. If you haven’t heard their work before, “I Never Cry” stands as an excellent foray into Dorsten’s unique skillset and collaborative capabilities, and a stylish brand of indie folk-rock that is truly theirs and theirs alone right now.
The framework of the original version of the song is still intact here, but there’s a high-definition varnish applied both in the master mix and in Dorsten’s highbrow arrangement of the instrumentation to differentiate one rendition from another. Alice Cooper’s body of work is one of the more challenging in all of rock n’ roll to cover, but the substance of the material isn’t lost in translation in this cut which, if anything, is a bit more relaxed in tone than what I was anticipating. Everything here centers on the rich harmonies emanating from the instrumentation and complementary vocal track, but the mix never feels lopsided or overwhelmingly skewed towards one element of the song over another.
In “I Never Cry,” Dorsten’s foundation acts as an agent of seduction, wrapping its elegant notes around us relentlessly and constantly drawing us closer to the magic being conjured up from our singer’s work behind the microphone. This is one of the more agile versions of the song that I’ve heard before despite its plodding beat, but it doesn’t rush us through the waves of colorful harmonies; Dorsten takes their time here and allows for every stitch of sonic color to develop and expand in a collective burst of melodic fireworks.
Despite the patient tempo of the music and the immense confidence that is dispensed from center stage, there’s a certain level of urgency in this rusticity-influenced arrangement of the tempo that keeps us on our toes for the whole of the single’s running time. The verses twist and turn, and though it’s never predictable where they’re going to lead us next, we never feel like everything is going to fall apart thanks to this erudite, meticulous mix.
There are a lot of working parts to “I Never Cry,” but Dorsten seamlessly commands them here in what could only be described as a masterful demonstration of both their talent and that of the source material’s original composer.
To say that Dorsten’s new single lives up to the high standard set by its original version simply doesn’t do what they’re done with the song justice, and if you ask me, it’s representative of how far they’ve come as an act more than anything else. The ability to successfully cover a composition of this pedigree in itself is quite an achievement, let alone with the approval of the composing artist, but to give it the modern spin that they do here without cheapening the aesthetics of the classic is something far more impressive altogether.