Album Review: Solids – ‘Blame Confusion’

Listeners might not be too surprised to know Blame Confusion was recorded in the summer; a jaunt through the album’s ten tracks definitely stands out against it’s February winter re-release. The album was previously released independently in early October 2013, where it caught the attention of some early media. Now Blame Confusion is out on a dual effort between Dine Alone Records and Fat Possum Records.
Blame Confusion is fun and distortion heavy. As for a comparison, Vancouver band Japandroids 2009 album Post-Nothing sounds vaguely similar.
With a mostly 90s influence, Solids has been described as both ‘alt-rock’ and ‘post-punk.’ They’re undoubtedly power-packed, as this debut album clocks-in just under 38 minutes. It’s the kind of stuff the 25+ generation will need assurance on whether or not they’ve heard this before, although it may sound fresh to a younger crowd who isn’t already familiar with Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, and NOFX.   
Playing-up their youth potential may serve Solids well, and with SXSW and a few EPs under their belt, this drum and guitar-playing duo from Montreal have the kind of following that can only expect to get bigger.

The first track “Over The Sirens” deserves a couple repeat listens. It sets the tone for the rest of the album, as the slow, eerie intro builds into fuzzy power chord strumming. The song has a steady sense of direction. It’s confident in it’s structure, yet the vocals swoop and ascend like the emotions of a teenager.
 “Traces” is a little faster, more driven, and as fuzzy as it gets. “Just let the wind blow/Just let it carry me home” scream band members Xavier Germaine-Poitras (guitar) and Louis Guillemette (drums).  “Traces” is abrasive without being threatening, like a caffeine-riddled individual yelling from a distance.

Haze Away” takes a step down from “Traces” treachery. Elements of apology and explanation are at work; “There’s not so many days in my week… take this haze away.” Following the bridge, there’s even a bit of regret in their words (“that’s what I should’ve stayed away from…”). If every album has a ballad, this would be it.
Like some bands with just two people, it’s hard to imagine they make so much sound with so few people, but it’s also part of their intrigue. Bands like the former Death from Above 1979, Tegan and Sara, Crystal Castles, and Chromeo, are strong examples of power and performance from a dual effort. Solids are definitely performance strong, as seen here in their music video comprised of tour footage.

Solids – “Cold Hands”
Blame Confusion is both earnest and to be expected. It’s not interested in breaking new ground, and it’s arguably working in their favor; Blame Confusion may find its strongest audience among just-legal teenagers who are lucky enough to see Solids live.
Of course, Blame Confusion also serves as a perfect invitation for anyone willing to revisit his or her angst-filled teen years. This album will take them back.
Leyland Bradley
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or @LeylandMarie. 

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