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Solar Project : Force Majeure

If the first few sections of the opening track don't have you searching for your gym boots and get you straight up on the dance floor, then you might as well put your walking stick away and ask your nursing home for an instant refund. That's not to say this is dance music per se! This song just bounces along with all the up-beat magic any musician could ask for and sets the mood for what is to unfold. Underpinned by a seriously infectious beat, the band kicks things off into overdrive, bringing references about religion and our wicked ways right up to your inner consciousness in a way that can't be ignored. And herein probably lies the major problem.

While I would be hard pressed to find fault with any of the music on this album, I am left speechless by the incredibly thick, nasally and blatantly overt accent from their lead singer, Bettina Wirtz. Although she has plenty of power, delivery, style and variety in her singing, you simply cannot escape the fact that she has an accent that would fracture a wayward iceberg. When I first heard Bettina singing the chorus on "Days Of Wrath" I had to seek cover under the desk as I really thought I was gonna get drenched in thick honey or syrup, such was the inflection in her voice. If ever there was a reason for a band to sing in their native tongue, it would have to be because of Bettina's impact on this album.

This band has been playing together for quite some time and it shows in their clever arrangements and variety of music contained not only on the album as a whole but within each song itself. Moving from dark and morose sections through to a more ethereal set of passages within only a few minutes, this band brings all the right ingredients to the fore within this suite of 4 very long tracks. Sounding like Pink Floyd in one instance then moving through a mind numbing variety of influences with references to all types of retro sounds you care to name, "Thunderstorm" is by far the most musically accomplished track presented here.

Their messages are also very much up-front, with many biblical references and a disconcerting view of the world as we face destruction from all manner of evil and wicked temptations and catastrophes including drugs, gross consumerism, 9/11, war or final annihilation from nature itself. It's all very depressing really and certainly not the sort of topics you would raise at your next dinner party. While the music is extremely mature and well written, I must confess I found the lyrics a bit banal and rather nave. Try this;

"Nature wakes up
It breathes
Trees sway in the wind
Bushes are bent
Wind, it brings life
Rain brings fruitfulness
Animals moving to and fro"

"A scene of continual change
The sky becomes black with clouds
Darkness everywhere
Rain, thunder & lightning
There's no animal to be seen
The storm is in rage
Now starts the Judgment Day"

If you heard the song in its entirety and was made aware of these glaring problems, you'd probably form the same opinion. Trying to make sense of English when a person's native tongue is totally unfamiliar with the nuances and inflections that are required to make the lyrics and sounds fit naturally, must be a very daunting task. Bettina obviously has some difficulty with her interpretation of the English language so it makes sense to try something with which she can feel more comfortable and natural. How about Danish?

However, despite all of these issues, I have found myself becoming more forgiving every time I play this disc and have even become fond of these idiosyncratic little glitches that would otherwise affect my overall enjoyment of a band's work. Sure, there is a problem with the lyrics and the accents, but damn it man, the music is miles better than a lot of dross vying for your dollar these days.

Your mileage may differ from mine, but as with a lot of new music that you are made aware of through sites such as this, it's probably best to try before you buy. Studying the frequent comments entered in the bands guest book on their web-site, there can be no denying this band has developed a very devoted group of global fans. Perhaps your name can be added to the list?

Track Listings:

1. Days Of Wrath (6.18)
2. Thunderstorm (30.24)
3. Force Majeure (20.00)
4. War (11.13)

Added: July 28th 2004
Reviewer: Greg Cummins
Score:
Related Link: Solar Project Web Site
Hits: 2246
Language: english

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