Back in 2006, a band from Northern Ireland called The Answer released an album called Rise. It was a well received hard rocking, classic rock sounding album which was part AC/DC part Led Zeppelin that led some to tip that they could become the next big thing. Now, ten years and a further four albums under their belt they’ve released their new one called Solas. Solas is the Gaelic word for light.
When Solas begins with the opening title track I take a minute to double check this is the same The Answer that I know. Gone is the hard rocking/classic rock style of the past and in is a new more contemporary/blues/country/alternative rock sound. Frontman Cormac Neeson is almost unrecognisable in fact. Unfortunately, to me, this is a bland, repetitive opener and is far from the start I was hoping for or expecting.
As the album goes on, you realise that the whole album is going to more the contemporary rock/blues rock style. Once you get used to that there are a couple of decent songs. Battle Cry is a great country/blues song with strong Gaelic influences and lyrics and Left Me Standing is by far the rockiest song musically on the album. Vocally, too, this is the closest song sound wise to the music their fans fell in love with and is easily the best track on Solas.
Ultimately, Solas will be an album you either love or are heavily disappointed by. Unfortunately, I fall into the latter. While not a bad album by any means it’s the change in sound that, for me, doesn’t work and I’d prefer to see them go back to their hard rock sound for their next release.