Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Answer: "Solas"

Rating: RRRR
Label: Napalm Records
Review by Martien Koolen

Solas, the Gaelic word for light, is the title of the new album by Northern Irish rockers The Answer and I can tell you rightaway that Solas is my favourite Answer album so far... For fans who liked the previous albums of The Answer this new one will probably take some time to get "used" to, as Solas is not your typical The Answer classic rock album. On this new album the four piece band from Northern Ireland have made excellent musical progression, which resulted in a modern, up date rock album with lots of Irish influences, meaning lots of folky influences, cultural Irish instrumentation and even choruses in Gaelic and Latin.

This fabulous album opens with the title track, which is in fact a pure rock anthem as The Answer has never played or composed before; a new born live classic track for sure. Follow up Beautiful World has lots of atmosphere and melancholy and singer Neeson delivers one of his best performances here; an extraordinary track which gets better with every spin. The third song of Solas called Battle Cry is the absolute highlight. It is an epic song, clocking over six minutes and this track really represents the new sound of The Answer. Mahon's guitar riff is very catchy and the chorus is even sung in Gaelic: "Seo An La A Thainig Mo Ghra", meaning: "This is the day my love arrives". The last part of this song, which really gets under your skin, being an up tempo guitar melody, wonderfully played by Mahon kind of reminds me of U2 and maybe that is not a coinidence... For old The Answer fans there are also songs that really rock, such as the bluesy Demon Driven Man with a lovely guitar melody/solo by Mohan, the up tempo Left Me Standing and the rocky Real Life Dreamers, which also features a duet between Neeson and the Irish vocalist Fiona O Kane.

The album ends with the emotioal ballad Tunnel, which features a breathtaking guitar solo and some really emotional vocals by Neeson, ending this amazing album in a great way. Solas is a very welcome surprise in 2016, as it shows The Answer at it best (second to none), the sound is rather different than on other albums, but Solas also proves that these guy still know how to rock. Solas is a brave, honest and wonderful album that will certainly end up in my top 10 of 2016 and it will not leave my CD player for the rest of this year. Play it loud and spread the word that Solas is one of the best rock albums of this year. "What the light don't fill, the darkness kills."

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