Alternative / Rock / Dance
Artist: The Soles
Produced by: Skysinger
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Formed in the year 2001, the band known as The Soles hails from Toronto, Canada. The band was first brought to my attention by Marc Merilainen, a musician whose work I had enjoyed in the past. Having performed with The Soles as a guitarist, he thought I might be interested in reviewing their work. Since then, I have had the pleasure of reviewing You Burst Into Fire Again and Broken Ghost. Just last week, I received the band’s new EP Anodos Kathodos.
Fronted by Din (Dean Jalonen, an artist who works in various mediums to express himself), The Soles also features Adam Gomori on guitars and vocals and Austin Gembora on drums. The band has a rock/pop style, but unlike many mainstream bands in their genre (exceptions being U2, Live, REM and a few others), their lyrics always contain a message, whether personal or politically based.
Their new EP is an experiment of sorts - working on a new full-length album, the band decided to experiment with some of the songs, creating electronic rock versions. While still containing the message they were trying to convey, these newly imagined songs now had a dance music quality about them. They decided that releasing these songs before the full-length album would be a unique and fun way to generate some excitement for their music as most artists will release remixes of select songs after the album has already been released.
In my way of thinking, their decision is a strike of genius. These newly imagined versions of their music are perfect for the club scene and will have more expanded play due to their dance quality, thereby possibly bringing new listeners into the fold who might not have ordinarily listened to The Soles’ work simply based on the genre they perform in. By expanding their musical flavor, so to speak, The Soles will reach more people. Again I say: genius move!
As for the songs, some are quite catchy. The EP starts off with Rebel Force Radio. The song is a call for people to step out of their comfort zones. Too often, people will state that they want this or that out of life, but are too afraid to take that step required to go after their dreams. Rebel Force Radio wants to give them that push: “All your life you stared / At the setting sun / You just wanted to find / A place where you belong…A place we all want to go / Rebel Force Radio / Now, you’ve got your own show / Rebel Force Radio.”
The next track is my favorite on the EP, but I’m not quite sure everyone is going to get the intelligence behind it. The title, F35, may not be something everyone knows about. The F-35 is a fighter jet, but in this song, Din gives it almost human characteristics. He creates a being, one with dictator potential, shunning individuality, knowledge, government, anything that will take away from his power…and the money he needs to sustain his power. The mention of money is a stab at the enormous amount of funding needed for the F-35 project. F35 is a really intelligently written track with lyrics steeped in the history of this country. I just hope that everyone listening to the song understands the history behind it and the warning the song presents.
Emergency is an interesting track. You can tell that the singer is speaking to someone suffering great emotional anguish: “Sometimes you don’t feel like life could get better / Sometimes you’re so broken / You don’t think that you can be fixed.” The message from the singer to this loved on is that he will never walk away from their relationship simply because what this individual is going through is difficult to comprehend. The singer will stay and support this individual until they can sort through their pain and find a reason to live again. The next two tracks, Light in a Cave and Bird on a Ladder have similar messages.
Delusional is an interesting commentary on a unique individual living in a world that suppresses individuality. The singer is someone who looks for a better world in which music heals and love prevails; a world in which we all get along. He knows that he can’t bring these events about on his own: “I’m the guy who wants to make us all get along / But I can’t even change my cat’s dirty litter box.” But he also knows that there are things working against him: “It’s a world where the fat cat don’t want to think / It’s a world where the monster is gathering / All people to it dark greed devouring.” That being said, the singer knows that he can do his part by creating music and singing his message of love and peace. Very nice way to end the EP.
The music on this album is a lot of fun. The dance beats make you want to…well, get up and dance and this album would play well in a club. I question the distortion of the vocals though, which often cause the listener to raise an eyebrow and wonder, “What did he just say?” Sometimes the lyrics get lost in the distortion. But otherwise, I had a lot of fun with the Anodos Kathodos EP which can be loosely translated into the path toward enlightenment (please, Din, correct me if I’m wrong on my translation.). Smart title for an intelligently written and well performed album.