Solids is made up of two native French-speaking musicians who sing in English and sound like a fuzzed-out American grunge band.
Proving it’s never too early for a 1990s nostalgia trip, music reviewers have been comparing Blame Confusion — the first full-length album by the Montreal-based band Solids — to the music of Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, Sonic Youth and Superchunk.
The only thing wrong with these parallels is that Solids members Xavier Germain-Poitras and Louis Guillemette would have been 10 and eight years old, respectively, in 1994.
“I wasn’t that deep into the music scene in the 1990s,” said Guillemette, with a chuckle.
In fact, the drummer and vocalist, who performs with Solids on Sunday at Fratters Speakeasy in Red Deer, added “When I was 10 or 12. I might have been listening to something like Green Day. …”
If the distorted emo vibe that he and guitarist Germain-Poitras jointly create is drawing correlations, then reviewers needn’t have stopped their backwards search in the 1990s.
They might have gone back to 1980s bands Joy Division or Husker Du, which helped pioneer musical sound distortion.
While Guillemette gets a kick out of these “cool” comparisons, he points out Solids wasn’t aiming for a retro sound when Blame Confusion was recorded with producer Adrian Popovich (Sam Roberts, The Dears).
“I would hope it would be something that people would listen to today.”
Music fans are tuning in to this heavy-touring duo, whose new album has been released across North America.
The band has played at giant festivals like SXSW in the U.S., and gigs in the U.K., Holland, Norway, Denmark and Germany.
“Just saw these dudes in a basement the other night. Great show, they sound like what being a teenager feels like,” one of Solids’ fervent followers posted on the Internet.
The two-member band is often likened to other Canadian drum and guitar duos Japandroids and Death From Above 1979.
But Guillemette sees Solids’ tunes as more of a mash-up between pop, punk and hardcore metal, which were the genres he was influenced by as a teenager and young adult.
The idea is to force a melody through loud layers of distortion and feedback. It’s a hefty sound, but has more catchy pop hooks than hardcore metal music — which is what Guillemette and Germain-Poitras were playing when they met as bandmates in the Montreal group Expectorated Sequence.
“We liked pop music,” said Germain-Poitras, who believes that common link led he and Guillemette to form Solids.
Blame Confusion is as close as the group has come to producing an album that sounds like a live performance, said Germain-Poitras. “It’s super heavy and loud … I think we’re getting there.” So far, only one song is sung in French, because English lyrics lend themselves better — both descriptively and phonetically — to alternative rock, he added. “It’s less literal. It’s more of a challenge to write in French.”
Both musicians say they look forward to returning to Alberta at a warmer time of year. “Last time it was February and it was like -45,” recalled Guillemette. “This time, we’d like to come back through the Prairies with some sun.”
There’s no cover charge for the show.
For more information, call 403-356-0033.