Hailing from Montreal, the energetic duo is comprised of Xavier Germain-Poitres on guitar/vocals and Louis Guillemette on drums/vocals. Although the two-piece outfit is walking a well-trodden path they are still able to add some unique grit to Seattle-style ’90s grunge.
Linking up with Dine Alone records for their fourth release since forming in 2010, this album is sure to garner fans of trending rockers Metz and Japandroids for their similar formation and fuzz factor. What Solids do differently, though, is reiterate tried and true rock elements with renewed swagger. In a genre that often resorts to rinsing and repeating its idols, Solids deliver a youthful verve unweighted by the depleted attitude of “it’s all been done”.
Looking under the hood of Blame Confusion, it makes sense it was tracked by Adrian Popovich at Mountain City in Montreal’s NDG neighbourhood. The studio has worked with plenty of other popular indie-rockers like We Are Wolves, The Dears, Duchess Says and Fucked Up, so Solids could rest assured their tone would be taken care of. However, the kick-drum could use some more punch and the lone guitar doesn’t pull its weight in the bass range. What does work especially well in the production department is the fuzzy overdrive effect on the vocals, which adds some weathered roughness to the relatively monotone melodies. A curious layer to Blame Confusion is the occasional ambient wave hovering above certain tracks, like at the ending of ‘Laisser Faire’ and ‘Off White’. In a guitar eat drum world, it’s nice to get some drones on a rock record.
As a whole the album is consistent in attitude and tone. Its downfall is the songs tend to blend into one another. The band gets too comfortable reverting back to familiar rhythms and chord changes throughout this release. What ends up standing out are the change-ups, like when the title-track ‘Blame Confusion’ kicks off with a ripping drum beat for the first 30 seconds, offering necessary relief from the usual guitar-drums pile on. Another instance of this alternative approach is the first minute of ‘Over The Sirens’ which warms up the album with a wavering ambient swell that perfectly introduces a spree of pummelling drum rolls. This is a strong album from start to finish, but future Solids material could use more varying dynamics, sonic elements and song-structures to keep things from getting stylistically stale.
Another consideration is that this is high-energy music that probably thrives live. This material easily lends itself to a raucous night out at any local watering hole, just don’t forget to bring your earplugs. For those thinking to catch the band live, now’s the time. Xavier and Louis are heading out on tour from February 20 to March 29 in Canada and the US with a spree of dates at this year’s edition of SXSW.