As good as it gets? PORTOBELLO EXPRESS release transcendent, ‘Sorrow & Pain’

WITH new single ‘Sorrow & Pain,’ Vienna-based art-psych-rock-blues outfit PORTOBELLO EXPRESS may well have just released their magnum opus.

The problem with the vast majority of female-fronted bands, is they all want to sound like someone else, their influences too readily signposted. But a great singer, a unique singer, turns their back on the norm and seeks to establish a voice of their own – which luckily for us, is the case with Portobello Express singer, bassist and lyricist, Betty.

However, before we continue, let’s remind ourselves Portobello Express is no solo project, joining Betty are drummer Robert ‘Bertl’ Baumgartner, and guitarists, Patrick Slowhand, and Andy Abraham.

“I’ve always had a desire for classical music, and the song is based on Franz Schubert’s ‘Sonata No. 20,’ written shortly before his death,” explains Betty. “Schubert’s compositions are very strange, a bit crazy, and he died of syphilis at the age of 31, so I wanted to make it a bit gothic, and it was our intention to give the piece a martial touch.

“I guess the lyrics came from the fact a friend of mine lost his father. It saddened me to see how much it affected his everyday life. He had a lot of love for his father and as I have no father I cannot imagine the feeling, but it was enough to see his pain to know.

“To match the sadness of the lyrics, we wanted to keep the song very minimal. The cover artwork also had to match the darkness of the lyrics.”

Sorrow & Pain’ has already received plaudits from far and wide, including former Transvision Vamp, and current, Rotten Hill Gang drummer, Mal Hallett, who said, “My initial impression is that it’s very Germanic, ‘torch songy,’ and vaguely expressionistic. It’s that classic 3/4 waltz time, almost military drumming, with Betty’s heavily accented English. I wonder what it would sound like sung in her native language? Not a bad sounding record though, simply produced, but well done –  her harmonies are very good too.”

Portobello Express have combined to produce a deeply moving, compelling song. Undeniably tender, vulnerable, heartfelt, and one that will strike a chord for those of us who live with the pain, “of a wound that cuts deep to the core.”

“It’s a strange song, I know, but music doesn’t always have to be commercial, it can also be part of the healing process,” adds Betty.

And that’s why there won’t be many better singles released this year.

CONNECT: Music | Portobello Express (


May 18         ‘Chelsea’ (Vienna)  

June 20        ‘Groove Garden Rotenturm’ (Oberwart, Austria)


Music/lyrics:  Betty

Arrangement, production:  Betty, Patrick Slowhand, Andy Abraham

Vocals/backing vocals:       Betty

Mix & mastering:               Andy Abraham, ‘farbTon Studio,’ Vienna 2024


  • Betty- Portobello Express says:

    More or less good, a matter of taste, the world of music is full of reviews and critics. But London Peaky is a world apart because it is true, honest, brutally real, like a flower that grows wild in a field, unadorned by crossbreeding to select the species, but glorious in its originality. In my personal opinion, it is better to get a review from Mike at London Peaky than a thousand reviews from Rolling Stone. Because you know that this one is real.

  • Ben Wilkinson says:

    What a fantastic read, the review of this track fits to explain it in great detail. I’m sure if there are people reading this review. They will be wanting to definitely listen to Portobello Express song Sorrow & Pain.

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