Upon listening to the new EP Stereo Alley from Memphis-based band solarflairs I really got pumped listening to this record. Love and attention to song details that’s what I have to say to begin. The songs are so well crafted that I found myself listening to this EP on repeat, shaking my head and air drumming to great songs. I can’t say I have ever heard of them before this EP, but I am so glad I got to experience this.
Lead singer and bassist Elisabeth Eickhoff just kills it on this record; her memorable bass licks and beautiful voice really keep this record stable and rockin’. When I listen to this EP I get throwbacks to early Pixies songs along with some old school Radiohead and Smiths. And if anyone knows me they know when I bring up similar acts like those that I really must love whatever band makes me reminisce.
“The Spirit of Johnny” which begins the album reminds me of a song that could have been on Pablo Honey or the Bends. The erratic spacey guitar from Greg Gentry is something to be admired for. Gentry just knows exactly how to engage himself in a song and propel it to new heights. I love guitarists with imagination, ones who create soundscapes and layers of beautiful noise. His solos also follow the same idea, never to show off, instead creating delicate and raw sounds like a Johnny Greenwood would do.
“Asleep By Midnight” is about as close to an homage to a heartwarming throwback song band like Cheap Trick would make. Just old school in its base it is a plain old free flowing rock song. But of course with Solarflairs, they know how to bring their element of creativity to any tune so that it doesn’t sound ordinary. The charming almost innocence of the song reminds me of the band ALVAYS, with Eickoff sounding so virtuous and pure the sound just reaches for wholesomeness.
Another thing to note is the brilliant DIY quality in the recording. “ It’s a “garage rock” record in that it was totally DIY- written, recorded, etc. - in actual garages. The grit is real, just like the grit in Memphis. Rock n’ roll music isn’t just something that happened in the past here…”it’s alive and kicking” the band themselves proclaim. I have to agree with them, for being recorded in garages this album sounds immaculate.
Being a musician I know just how hard it can be to get a good sound in of all places, a garage. It’s hard to make a definitive piece of art rather than just a succession of demo sounding music. The whole album is crisp and mixed well, I get a great ambient feel and the songs really shine.
So to everyone reading check out the new EP Stereo Alley from solarflairs. Really a fantastic record from start to finish.
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