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The Solipsist

(Noyes; US: 8 Mar 2011; UK: import)

Kestrels, out of Nova Scotia, offer a stop-gap between full-lengths with the four-track EP, The Solipsist, which confirms the youthful fire in the group’s sound. After a quiet fade in, the boys unleash “The Light”, a driving power-pop number with the brightness of surf rock and the lean edge of something put together in the basement. However, even for such a short release, it doesn’t really let us know what’s coming. If this disc is supposed to be a hint at the next record, then it leaves you with more questions than answers. “What Happens” is a moody mid-tempo rocker that, while it crashes harder than “The Light”, doesn’t land with the same impact. Meanwhile, the pop-punk churner “Dead Time” surprises with an unruly guitar freak-out in the end. Both songs are charged with energy, but they seem a bit anonymous compared to the punch of the first track. The band show another side of its sound by taking on Black Tambourine’s “Throw Aggi Off the Bridge”. This number jangles and shimmers, even as the players speed headlong through the track, putting the melodies behind a front-and-center ragged rock sound. It’s the most exciting moment here, which is both good and bad for the band, since it’s the only song that is not original. There is a lot of promise in these songs, and a feeling like Kestrels is moving forward as a band, but as a stand-alone release The Solopsist‘s wandering sound is more often puzzling than it is compelling.


Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.

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