Out of a stoic silence, a buoyant taste of bittersweet melodicism is soon to quaintly unravel before our ears, leaving a trail of effervescent harmonies in its wake. The smooth drawl of instrumentation penetrates the absence of sound, but it’s not enough to smother the hypnotic element it is cultivating from a distance.
A wash of color is about to enter the frame, but it’s as delicate and fragile as thin glass, reflecting a contemplative tone in contrast with the sensuous rhythm being perpetuated by the arrangement. Sophie Dorsten starts to sing in a half-whisper, her words bouncing off of the sonic ribbonry in the foreground and reverberating into the ethers for what feels like an eternity. This is Dorsten’s version of Alice Cooper’s “I Never Cry,” and calling it anything less than an ensnaring but subtle indie folk anthem would almost be criminal.
Sophie Dorsten’s voice is woven into the fabric of the verses to such a great extent that it’s hard to tell where their glistening vocal timbre ends and the melody of her brother’s instrumentation begins. Everything is perfectly synchronized, picking us up like the current of a roaring river and ripping us through whitewater harmonies that rage viciously but never spill out of the speakers violently. Shortly before the midway mark, a blistering shift lights a fire under the implicit tempo and pushes the song into a seemingly more urgent pace, but despite its intensity, we return to the pendulousness of the chorus to find that Sophie hasn’t even begun to show us what she can do when she has got a microphone in her hands and nothing to hold her back.
As the song reaches a climax, we’re never bombarded with one blast of instrumental might after another, and the vocal never gets lost in the discord of Dorsten and their play. The verses provide a bit of stability, Sophie’s vocal becomes a beacon of light in the darkness, and by the time the song reaches a theatrical conclusion in a hail of unstoppable tonality, we’ve fallen under the band’s spell and are left itching to play the track all over again. I’ve been a music critic for a long time, and though I’m a devout fan of Alice Cooper, I think that this cover of the iconic song is about as close as anyone has ever come to surpassing the aesthetical depth of the original.
There’s so much to be said about what Dorsten has done in their latest single that it seems almost disingenuous to highlight one particular facet of “I Never Cry” over another. Around every corner, there’s a startlingly tight melody waiting to pummel us with textured emotion that feels as powerful as anything that Alice Cooper’s version ever contained. I’ve never been the biggest believer in cover songs as singles, but in this particular situation, listeners would be doing themselves a grave disservice in avoiding Dorsten’s “I Never Cry.” This act has been making a lot of waves left of the dial, and a single like this one could easily bring them the mainstream attention that they’ve been fighting so hard for.