A big disappointment.
After being disappointed with a two track live preview of this album last month, you can imagine that the first play through of said album had me on tenterhooks, especially as it's billed as a "contemporary Rock album with Gaelic influences". It's all change at Camp Answer, it seems, and I'm here to let you know if you should be afraid.
Well if I'm being honest, and I always am, 'Solas' is a big disappointment in my book. I happen to like The Answer and have a lot of time for their energy-fuelled Rock stylings. Straight off, with the opening title track, it's apparent that this isn't the band you were expecting. It's a slow, moody track, almost Grunge-like, with no catchy chorus and no fist in the air moments, just a pretty monotonous four and a half minutes. The good news is it gets better, and thank fuck for that or it would be wrist-slitting time.
Third track 'Battle Cry' is a lively, catchy Celtic-infused track, whilst following number 'Untrue Colour' has a bit of life to it without really Rocking as hard as you'd like. This typifies the album, as the few tracks that lean towards the band's signature sound are castrated versions of what fans want to hear. 'Thief Of Light' may be the dullest song I've heard so far this year, whilst 'Being Begotten' is one of those annoying tracks that keeps sounding like it's about to get mental but never does, preferring instead to crawl on like a wasp through treacle. In fact, the only track that sounds like TA of old is 'Left Me Standing', and it's the best track on the album by a country mile. It's late in the album and followed by 'Demon Driven Man' and 'Real Life Dreamers', the only other two tracks that feel like TA, though not as much as '...Standing'.
'Solas', for the most part, feels like a con job for being released under the banner of The Answer. Yes, it's the band's right to change their style of music, but tread very carefully if you're a fan of the heavy, catchy Blues Rock that The Answer have been doing so well up to now because 'Solas' raises only questions.