I've been waiting for an album like this for a very long time. I think that's a pretty decent
way to start this review.
Solea is essentially an all-star band, featuring Garrett, former vocalist of the
now-defunct but always amazing Texas Is The Reason, Sergie, guitarist of the
almost-as-amazing Samiam, and another member from the equally awesome
Knapsack. For those who are in the know with those three aforementioned
bands, you probably know what to expect from a band consisting of their members. For
those who don't have a damn clue (probably the majority of you), all three of those bands
are essentially emo-rock bands, and are (or were) bands at the very top of their respective
genres. That being said, Solea is a rock band with a few emo elements strewn about here
and there, but they aren't too obvious at all. This isn't an emo band. And thank God for
On their self-titled debut full-length, Solea relies on catchy 4/4 rock songs with excellent
hooks and even better choruses. Vocalist Garrett sounds much different than he did as
vocalist of Texas Is The Reason, which I find to be a very good thing (not saying that he
sounded bad as vocalist in TITR, mind you). His voice is much deeper and less whiny,
and it fits with the music like a glove. There is obvious influence from each members' past
bands, but Solea is no carbon copy; they're a band of their own. Solea's strength,
however, lies in their choruses. The verses are good, but the high point of every song is
the chorus. Garrett's vocal delivery is ridiculously catchy, and it just feels like the band
really knows how to write a damn good chorus. While every song on here sounds rather
similar, the album is never boring or redundant, and each song has something special about
it. Every song is good, but there are some obvious standouts.
"Apotheke", the track that kicks off the album, is an obvious highlight. With an awesome
beat and good vocal work in the chorus (backup vocals are used on this track, something
that isn't used on many of the other songs), this track starts the album off on a great note,
leading into "Mercy Was Here", which originally appeared on the band's Even
Stranger EP a few years back. It's a much slower song, but if I had to pick the best
song on here, "Mercy Was Here" would be it. For some reason, the lyric "California
called me home, and I can run there; it's good to be back in the sun" sticks out to me
as being totally awesome. The next standout track would be the eighth song, "Shuffle".
It's as bouncy as a big ol' ass, and it is truly a sing-along. The verses are infectious like
AIDS, and, once again, Garrett's vocal delivery is top-notch. The final song that stands
out is "The Last Word", the slowest song on here. The clapping effect on the drums
sounds so awesome, and I really enjoy the chord progression as well. Although it's buried
near the end at track eleven (out of thirteen, a lengthy album in a very good way), this
song will get stuck in your head for days.
Like stated before, these four songs are not the only good songs on here; every song is
equally good in its own right, from the speedy "So Far Gone" to the acoustic "Even
Stranger". After close examination and many listens, I've concluded that there is not a
damn thing wrong with Solea's self-titled offering. There is not a thing I would change,
and I am 100% confident that everyone that listens to this fine piece of work will agree
with me. It's catchy, fun, consistent, and intelligent, and it's one of my favorite releases
thus far in 2004. To my knowledge, it isn't going to be released on an American label; it's
going to be released on European label Defiance. As soon as it drops here, I urge you to
pick it up. It's good. It's really fucking good. I promise.
Like I said, I've been waiting a long time for something like this.
"Mercy Was Here"
"So Far Gone"
"The Last Word"