The release of a new CD is generally cause for celebration. For the members of Sorta, however, the occasion is bittersweet. The band’s eponymous fourth studio album wasn’t quite finished when guitarist and keyboard player Carter Albrecht was shot and killed on September 3, 2007. The group had overcome a year of transition, adding new member Chris Holt on guitar and keys and replacing longtime drummer Trey Carmichael with Tom Bridwell. With renowned producer-engineer Stuart Sikes (Cat Power) helming the sessions, they seemed on the verge of a creative leap. A year later, the mostly finished songs on the short, nine-track Sorta bear that out; there is a clarity of purpose in Trey Johnson’s songwriting and a quiet ferocity to the band’s performances, hinted at before and fully realized here. It’s difficult to listen to the disc and not be haunted by Albrecht’s presence (especially hearing his lead guitar licks between the moaned “Oh, it’s over chorus at the end of “Afraid of the Dark), but the songs hold up regardless of backstory. More than anything, it’s just nice to hear him play again.