Remarkably, it’s been a decade since The Answer’s first studio album ‘Rise’. In ten years the Northern Irish quartet’s ability to produce good old fashioned, meat and potatoes rock ‘n’ roll has been widely sought after. However, if you’ve been following these guys for a while, there’s a chance that new album ‘Solas’ will pack quite a few surprises.
The record’s title is the Gaelic translation “light” and sees the exploration of the band’s deep Irish roots and culture, as well as the darkness that frontman Cormac Neeson faced with the premature birth of his son.
Title track ‘Solas’ opens the record and, if it wasn’t for Neeson’s vocals, you might think it was a different band entirely. Although actually they sound pretty different too. A dark guitar riff trundles along throughout and Neeson’s dynamic range is shwocased, esepcially towards the end of the track. ‘Battle Cry’ is an eclectic mixture which samples uplifting acoustic rock, experimental percussive work and bright Gaelic chanting and is enriching to say the least.
‘Untrue Colour’ throws yet another surprise into the mix with its interspersed electro synth moments. ‘Be Begotten’ touches back to their established bluesy roots and alongside the classic rock sound of ‘Left Me Standing’, the two tracks get about as close to The Answer’s tried and tested format as the record gets. ‘Tunnel’ polishes the album off peacefully with that night drive acoustic feel.
‘Solas’ is a brave and honest record which follows none of the blueprint the band have used for so long. Perhaps after ten years it’s a high time for a change in direction and perspective for The Answer. It may be difficult for such a well-established band to successfuly revamp their sound but ‘Solas’ is a worth a listen.
‘Solas’ by The Answer is released on October 28th on Napalm Records.
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Words by Phoebe Messenger (@kangaezu_ni)