There’s something deliciously ironic about a band called Solids creating such a loose and elastic sound. But that’s exactly the case with the sludgy, grunge-tinged alt-rock of ‘Else’.
While not as immediate and punchy as 2014’s excellent ‘Blame Confusion’, ‘Else’ is a real slow-burner. Sometimes growth is a detriment to the sound, but the result is one that is much more nuanced and stylistically brave, taking the Montreal mob away from the Japandroids-style rock’n’roll and into territory that is solely their own making.
Indeed, if you’re expecting another ‘Off White’ or ‘Laisser Faire’, ‘Blank Stare’, with its dirty, grungy riffs and downbeat tones might come as an initial shock. Bristling with attitude and menace, it’s rock ’n’ roll played right on the edge. It might take a couple of listens to tune in – especially if you have some preconceptions – but it’s evident that this a band adding style to their substance.
‘Wait It Out’ is a similar step up. A drawn-out affair, there’s a real clout when the guitars swell, with fuzzed-out riffs building to a satisfying conclusion.
There’s a similar ‘slacker vs grunger’ battle raging throughout; like if Sonic Youth and Nirvana got hold of the Pavement back catalogue and played it through 50-foot amps. Dirge-y, noisy yet spectacularly loose and free, ‘Else’ is the sound of a band beginning to push their own voice and style, experimenting with the edges and pushing into landscapes new.
Of the 4 songs on offer, there’s not a bad track, although the rattling, percussive-heavy drone of ‘Shine’ probably steals it, throwing in some off-kilter drumming and a lolloping, repetitious nature that’ll get stuck in your head.
It means ‘Else’, while lacking the immediacy of its predecessor, points to immense growth; in fact it’s a more than solid return for a band on the up…
’Else’ EP by Solids is released on 15th April on Topshelf Records
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)