I've been a fan of The Answer ever since they stopped me in my tracks upon hearing 'Come Follow Me' on Kerrang TV one day in 2006. I've then listened to them ever since, and seen them live several times, most recently at The 100 Club, and at Ramblin' Man Festival. So, the news of their bringing out a new album filled me with excitement.
Now, I'll be completely honest. The first time I heard a song from this new album, I wasn't overly enamoured. It was such a departing from their usual sound that I had grown to know and love over the years, I really didn't give it a chance.
With the creation of The Gig Gals, and with the release of The Answer's new album 'Solas', this is the album that I have chosen to write my first album review about. So with an open mind, I have listened through this album several times since yesterday, and also listened to the one hour special with interview on Guy Bellamy's Rock Show last night.
The album opens with 'Solas', a track with a powerful, dark and gothic quality. Throughout, it builds in intensity and Cormac's vocals are passionate, evocative and intimidating in the most wonderful of ways. A return to roots, has created the most hauntingly beautiful song.
'A Beautiful World' follows, and I am starting to feel that this band are letting us know something important. That they have musical capabilities far beyond what we 'thought we knew about them'. It's beyond fascinating to hear his vocals stretch in ways I have not heard before. The Celtic sounds speak to my soul, I love this track, it's epic!
Heading into 'Battle Cry' I can hear their old sound shining through in the acoustic start to the track, and it certainly brings a smile to my face. The old familiar makes you instantly comfortable with this new song. You can't help but sing along with the chanting that features throughout....and yet....I find myself yearning for a further taste of the new sound I have heard in the previous tracks.
'Untrue Colour' lacks the intensity that the first songs brought, but it brings with it something entirely different from The Answer yet again. It has a similar sound to that I have been hearing from some new bands recently. The Answer proving that they still hold a place amongst the new kids on the block and can easily keep up with current trends if they so choose. It's a groovy and catchy song.
'Being Begotten' has a chilled bluesy undertone and is evocative in a way very much unlike the earlier tracks.
Interestingly 'Demon Driven Man' has a southern twang, is bluesy, and still brings with it the Irish roots. Interesting mix, great track!
A departure from the 'old' has been a wise move for The Answer. It has given a breath of life back into their music that I hadn't quite realised they needed until now. This band over the years, have never lost the energy that they perform with, but it is awesomely exciting, to now know that they can hit this new musical direction with an energy and extensive skill set that has been crafted and perfected over the past ten years, since the release of 'Rise' in 2006.
I have learnt, that you should never under estimate a musicians skills, and should never pigeon hole them. Music is freedom, music is emotion, and that should be free to wander in any direction it so chooses. Embrace the skills, embrace the talent, and you'll be taken on the most evocative and fascinating journey throughout a bands/artists career.
'SOLAS' an ANTHEMIC new album, from THE ANSWER! Buy it NOW!
THE GIG GALS