Review Summary: As the title implies, they are still searching for this "solid ground" that they speak of.
Saosin released an exemplary debut in 2006 that become a huge hit. It's always difficult to produce an even better sophomore effort. Saosin definitely had plenty of trouble making a fantastic follow-up and it never really finds solid ground as the title implies. The album is a mixed bag of improved music and unsatisfactory lyrics. The bands performance as a whole has improved because even though their debut was better, they still had a tendency to overplay their instruments to a certain degree. However, this improved musicianship comes with a price: the lyrics range from very mundane to sensational. The record as a whole doesn't flow very well which really brings the experience down a few pegs.
Aside from the lack of punchy lyrics, the band performs better than ever. The fantastic drumming is still apparent, but they are not overblown which is a great choice. Considering the simple nature of most of the songs, the guitar work is also admirable and works hand in hand with the bass. Cove's vocals have become more emotional with less of an emphasis on hitting high notes. Even though he still hits plenty of high notes with ease, they are no longer used to drive the song but to convey more emotion which is a wonderful change of pace. The musical highlights of the album are "Changing" and "Fireflies". "Changing" has a mesmerizing beat and catchy guitar that compliments Cove's incredible vocal performance. Fireflies is nothing like they've ever written before because it is above eight minutes long and it has a mature nature that we've never seen from Saosin. "The Alarming Sound of a Small Voice" is also incredibly mature for Saosin and it's nice to see they wanted to try something different.
The lyrics and it's inconsistencies is where the album drops the ball. The album opener "I Keep Secrets Safe" contains vocals that could be considered "screamo" and these vocals are heard nowhere else on the album so it just doesn't fit. "Deep Down" is an improvement over the lackluster opener. Then we come to "Why Can't You See" and this song is the worst Saosin has ever written. It literally sounds like a fifteen year old could have wrote it. The middle act is very satisfactory and then dips again towards the end unfortunately. At least we have an incredibly beautiful closer("Fireflies").
It is enjoyable to know that Saosin wanted to push the envelope and try something different from their self-titled debut. It doesn't always workout because it suffers from poor pacing and unsatisfactory lyrics. One can not go into this thinking you will get a rehash of their self-titled because you will not find that. Though some songs are musically more mature for Saosin, other songs could have used more work in the lyric department. "Why Can't You See," I'm talking to you. However, this does not mean the album is abysmal because it contains incredible standout tracks. Fans of Saosin will really enjoy "Changing" and "The Worst Of Me." The band may not have found solid ground with this record, but maybe they will find it without Cove.
Tracks I recommend:
-The Alarming Sound of s Small Voice