Napalm Records [Release date 28.10.16]
The Answer celebrated the 10th anniversary of their debut album ‘Rise’, an album they have struggled at times to live up to. However, on this new album ‘Solas’ (the Gaelic word for light) they have had a real about turn in their musical outlook. Gone are the blues rockers and in comes more reflective songs and Gaelic influences in some of the music.
There is just so much to take in and enjoy from ‘Being Begotten’, which sounds like a Robert Plant solo song through to ‘Battle Cry’, which reminded me of the mighty Runrig. An amazing song and one of the best songs this band have recorded. The vocal arrangements, the uplifting lyrics – they have really nailed it on this one.
‘Beautiful World’ is a real left-field song, co-written with former Massive Attack producer/composer Neil Davidge, it has a cinematic and epic feel to the music, that rises nicely to a full band crescendo. The title track mixes a little Led Zeppelin, with an ambient backing and Cormac Neeson really lets fly on his vocal powers. Listen to the outro you will be suitably impressed. Oh and listen to ‘Untrue Colour’ for the Cars-like synth breaks – one for a future airplay/single release.
They still rock out though, as ‘Left Me Standing’ romps along nicely and features Thin Lizzy approved guitars. There is also ‘Demon Drive Man’, although for me it doesn’t match the other songs on here.
‘Real Life Dreamers’ sees Cormac Neeson joined by Fiona McBride for a slow, haunting number and along with slow blues of ‘Tunnel’, add more variety to the mix. The latter song features Hammond and a blistering solo by Paul Mahon.
‘Solas’ marks a brave new chapter for the band and I for one really hope this succeeds as this album is a mighty fine piece of music. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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