Review Summary: A high school reunion of all your favourite post-rock bands
Explosions In The Sky, God Is An Astronaut, Russian Circles, This Will Destroy You, And So I Watch You From Afar…do these bands sound familiar to you? If they do, great, because I’m going to be repeating these names a lot while talking about Solkyri’s second full-length, Sad Boys Club
. Being one of the front runners to what seems to be a popular wave of Australian post-rock, Solkyri put forth their strongest effort to date, but with so many obvious influences, does their identity get lost in the shuffle?
To say that Solkyri wears their influences on their sleeve is the understatement of the century: Solkyri is more akin to wearing their influences on their t-shirt in large bold font while shooting fireworks out of their armpits. The listener opens up Sad Boys Club
with “Team Solar”, and with quiet, echo-y guitars building up into the song’s first climax, one might instantly be reminded of Explosions In The Sky, and rightfully so. But rather than being a knock-off of the legendary band, Solkyri actually puts forth a quality effort, weaving soft, sentimental guitar parts with blistering guitar leads and driven instrumental rock riffs. The other longer track of the album, “I Felt Unsafe, I Felt At Home”, starts with a similar slow build-up before drums and loud guitars come crashing in ala Russian Circles, taking the listener on a eight minute roller coaster of squealing guitars, noisy feedback and aggressive drumming. Despite the familiar ingredients that Solkyri is using, the final product is still enjoyable and enthralling, which is usually not the case for bands who try to emulate their elders.
And while Solkyri successfully utilizes the long post-rock song formula, Sad Boys Club
also has some more enjoyable, straight-forward instrument rock pieces, similar to the tune of God Is An Astronaut. The album’s highlight “Yes I’m Breathing” is a fine example of this, complete with happy-go-lucky hand claps and bouncy rhythms coupled with fast, distorted guitar riffs and unexpected 7/4 sections. “Sad Boys” has less change-up, but features a more straight-forward approach that highlights guitar leads and distortion, while “Forrah” goes for as much variety as possible, melding quiet Explosions In The Sky with loud And So I Watch You From Afar.
But while the album does a great job in creating some fresh takes on their influences, the thing holding Sad Boys Club
back from being truly great is the sheer amount of variety the album produces. If it wasn’t bad enough that any seasoned post-rock fan would be instantly reminded of a least half a dozen bands throughout a listen of Sad Boys Club
, the album itself is very schizophrenic: slow post-rock songs are followed by faster instrumental songs are followed by quiet interludes on repeat. Again, while Solkyri does something meaningful with their sound, they certainly don’t seem like they knew what album they want to create and just threw everything against the wall.
Sad Boys Club
is one of the more fascinating listens of the genre in years. While it’s unique that this album combines so many sounds to make a fantastic offering without (totally) ripping-off other bands, the album is held back by the fact that the band never seems to want to take the next step. Sad Boys Club
plays like visiting a high school reunion of your favourite post-rock bands rather than discovering something new, and while that is not a knock on this quality album, the band certainly loses marks for not putting their own stamp or spin on things.