solutions - Before the Roars (Cover Artwork)


Before the Roars (2009)


My one criticism of Punknews is the predominantly U.S.-centric coverage: great UK bands such as Cutting Class, Facel Vega, Harbour, Stapleton, the Doublecross, Caves, A New Day and Evariste Galois seem to slip under the radar of most international readers. Perhaps the most tragic ommission is solutions, a new band relatively unheard of outside of their native Cardiff.

solutions forge an exciting gruff punk/indie hybrid--imagine Tom Gabel fronting Kubichek! and you're halfway there. Before the Roars was released as a free download last December and serves as a testament to the breadth and vibrancy of UK punk rock in 2010.

Frantic, Bloc Party-esque drumming helps propel album highlight "Sons of Daughters" before soaring into stratospheric heights with the so-Org-you'll-grow-a-neckbeard-just-listening-to-it refrain of "she's back from the dealers and mixing up with the weekend heroes / the white lines and fast lives / step off they'll all bleed you dry." Elsewhere, "Mary Anne (Come Out Tonight)" has the audacity to have sort of GIGANTIC breakdown you're just not expected to hear outside of a Bridge 9 record. I challenge anyone to resist raising a fist during the "I'm coming up for one last kiss / and one last dance" line--it simply cannot be done.

Somewhere, Pete Wentz is crying, for he did not write the infectious pop-punk power chords that open "A Devil Among the Dancers." The bounce of the song contrasts with the world-weary lyrics--particularly "We talk about the things we know / but steer clear of the things we don't / like how to act in situations when an attraction overtakes our hearts, heads and all the rest / I can't be cool if I'm a nervous wreck." Finally, "Young Loins" closes the album in a spectacularly heartfelt fashion, evoking alt-country icons Lucero in the verse before exploding into a chorus of drunken gang vocals. It seems to have been written with boozy, mates-held-in-arms sing-alongs in mind and definitely achieves this aim.

My one criticism is the album's length--at eight tracks and clocking in at just over 25 minutes, Before the Roars seems to be over before it's started. But then, I suppose no-ones leveled this same complaint at Hello Bastards, so why should it be apt now?

solutions is music for the pissed-off, heartbroken fighter in all of us. I strongly urge any skeptics to give the album a quick download, or (even better) come see them with rad Cardiff hardcore band the Good Time Boys on their May UK tour.