“Sore” has three primary meanings.
1) The first is perhaps the most obvious; something which is sore is something which causes pain or aching. “I fell over and grazed my knee and now it is sore.”
2) The second has a slightly old-timey, Scott Fitzgeraldy feeling to it, to denote feelings of displeasure : “Gatsby was sore because no-one wanted to come to his parties anymore. Because he was dead.”
3) The third is probably my favourite way to use the word, as a submodifier to denote severity or depth of requirement: “I was in sore need of this Sore Eros album and I’m certainly less sore now it’s here. Also my ears are sore because I listened to it too loud.”
Eros, as you probably know, is the Greek god of love and beauty, particularly sexual love. In Roman mythology he was known as Cupid, which means he’s the same thing as that little prick who pops up on valentine’s day cards violently shooting people through the fucking heart as if that’s an okay thing to do.
I like to think that the name of Robert Robinson’s Connecticut-based lo-fi project was chosen for more than just its graphological symmetry. There’s something in the sparsity of the compositions, the one-man-band feel to these songs, that suggests all three meanings of the word “sore” in conjunction with Robinson’s own Eros. Like so:
1) Eros’ knee is sore because he fell over and grazed it, and these songs are all about that. This one is the most tenuous and I can’t find any evidence on the record to support this, so you’ll just have to go with it.
2) Eros is sore about something (maybe his sore knee?) and is keeping all his arrows to himself, instead of impaling Robert Robinson’s chest. This one works because much of the songs here are about loneliness and longing. On track two, ‘Giraffe’s Kiss’, two vocal tracks are laid over the top of one another, a male and a female, repeating the line “what can I do?” three or four times, but there is something in the production and that keeps the two separate – this is no duet or even harmonised backing, but the internal voices of two people, two people unpricked by Eros, probably sat deep in thought looking into middle-distance through a rain-spattered window. “Somewhere out there I know you’re listening, and somewhere out there, I know that you feel me too” sings Robinson on the album’s centre-piece ‘Just A Cloud’, to no-one in particular, or to, in the words of an all-too-obvious touchstone for this record, “all the lonely people”, or perhaps to Eros himself.
3)The world sorely needs Eros, because we’re in troubled times, and because, to return to that same touchstone, “love is all you need.” Not only are we in troubled times, but it’s also quite cold at the moment, and as Robinson says on ‘Running Down’, “when winter comes you blow your nose.” This record is a bit like a massive tissue, probably with essence of aloe-vera on it, to blow your internal-nose (it’s right beneath your inner-eye) of its winter blues.
The unfortunate thing for the timing of this record is that it comes hot on the heels of the latest Deerhunter album, when perhaps the world doesn’t sorely need another dense, tangled, complex and mystifying lo-fi rumination on the nature of modern living and being alone by some tortured soul with too much talent to burn. But fuck what we might need, if Halcyon Digest did it for you, this probably will as well. You might not need it, but you should sure as hell want it.