Alternative / Rock
Artist: The Soles
Produced by: Marc Meriläinen
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Formed in the year 2001, the band known as The Soles hails from Toronto, Canada and first grab my attention in 2008 when I received their album, You Burst Into Fire Again. The band consists of D.I.N. (Dean Jalonen, an artist who works in various mediums to express himself) on vocals and guitar, Marc Meriläinen (from Nadjiwan) on bass and Gabe Girard on drums. You Burst Into Fire Again was a self portrait of sorts dealing with D.I.N.’s recovery from a long bout with depression and offering up some of political views as well. Their first album was well-received and the band went on tour in 2010. Now, a full decade after the band’s inception, The Soles have released a new EP entitled Broken Ghost.
Like its predecessor, Broken Ghost deals with political views and activism. While the songs offer up scathing opinions of Toronto’s latest Mayor, someone D.I.N. describes as a “personification of intolerance,” it also offers up a positive message to its listeners. These positive messages mingled in with the criticism serve to help the listener understand that they can do something about the intolerance around them by realizing that we are all one united body. Thus, by hurting one, we hurt all and in turn ourselves. The idea is based on a spiritual message that can be found in Quantum Physics - the idea that all matter being one.
The first track of the five-song EP, Broken Ghost, looks at the homeless. When you think of the idea of the homeless, or at least how they are perceived, the title is quite apt, as are the lyrics. Most people walk past homeless individuals seeing broken remnants of a person or, often times, seeing nothing at all. The song brings to mind the Underground in the Neil Gaiman novel, Neverwhere. Not wanting to see what these individuals represent, people will often times look right through them as if they were ghosts. The spiritual message comes in the last lyrical lines, “They say that some have / And some of us don’t / If we’re all one body how could / One arm be broke?”
Another excellent and uplifting track is Salvation. As the lyrics remind us, you can’t find salvation in other people, in ideas, in feelings. However, no matter who you are or how low you have fallen, “…you can find peace for yourself / And that’s when you give it to someone else.” Again, we see the idea of all being one. If we belong to one body, then it makes sense that by finding our own inner peace will extend that peace to all of those around us. This message is also related in the final track, Joy. In this track, the lyrics also offer up another uplifting message: “I have said that there’s no ‘try’ / There’s only the word ‘do’ / Now I know that there’s just ‘be’ / All you gotta be is you.”
While some might find the spiritual message of Quantum Physics to be another Socialist viewpoint, I think The Soles are on to something. Even in psychiatry, it has been proven that one person’s serenity can often influence the peacefulness around him. Using a quiet and steady voice can often calm a whole room of angry or anxious individuals. This would seem to echo the message of Salvation.
My favorite line in the whole EP comes at the very end of it: “This is not a hopeless case.” It offers up hope that people will hear the message of Broken Ghost and work against intolerance and toward unity despite their perceived differences. The Soles latest musical creation offers up an intelligent message added to some excellent music supplied by D.I.N., Meriläinen and Girard and some interesting harmonica work by Chris Jalonen on the track Illusion. The message is clear, the music is good and the project as a whole offers up food for thought. Broken Ghost is, in my opinion, some of The Soles’ best work!
Broken Ghost is available for purchase at The Soles Store and will soon be available at iTunes and Amazon.com!