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SOLAR ‘Dark Places ’
(Verglas VGOCD026)

Release date 10 Nov in Europe with a UK release in Jan

Solar feature Arena vocalist Rob Sowden, along with bass player Lawrence Jarvis and drummer Simon Bell and another Arena connection is John Mitchell, who produces the album and also guests on guitar. Definitely not Arena in sound nor the Darkness as the info sheet says! It is very latter day Radiohead, especially the opener 'Cheap Thrill'.

The album does take some getting used to as I'd been expecting something a bit more progressive like Arena. In fact it is most probably best to approach this album without having heard Arena and having set expectations. 'Caving In' is the album highlight, as the song builds from a slow opening and grows steadily to a gorgeous sax break. Quite simply an outstanding piece of music. Other listening highlights include the jazz rock flavoured 'She Knows' and 'Twice As Bright As The Sun', another slow burning epic. Rob Sowden's vocals suit the music well and he gets chance to breathe on many of these tracks as most are seven minutes or longer.

With some promotion it could easily become a hit with fans of Radiohead and Muse. It's an album of light and shade, not always an easy listen but a definate grower and hopefully there will be more to some from the band.

Label Website


Review by Jason Ritchie

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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