SOS- Adult Situations

"The True Face Of Hard Rock"

“Adult Situations” is the 5th release from New York based rockers SOS, and even though you may not have heard of them up until now, gives good reason why you should go and search them out. If you want some backstory, then read the rest of this paragraph, if you just want to get onto what they’re like musically, and how good the album is, then feel free to skip ahead a little past the break. Formed in the good old days of the mid 90s, SOS worked the New York gig scene, working on their craft under the slogan of being “trained to rock”. A few roster changes have occurred in the period between their previous release “A Guide To Better Living”, but it doesn’t seem to caused any problems with their sound.

The fact that these guys formed in the mid 90s is an important fact to remember. If you liked the metal and grunge and punk of the late 80s and early 90s, then there’s probably something for you to like here. SOS seem to take their cures from greats such as Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, (early) Offspring and even the mighty Metallica. A good way to describe them would be what would happen if you took 90s grunge, upped the distortion and taught it how to play Master Of Puppets. Though, this metal influence pales in comparison to all the grunge going on in “Adult Situations”, it’s still undeniably there. SOS’s sound is actually a little bit of a breath of fresh air in a rock environment filled with whining metalcore and the return of the synth. Straight ahead, hard, grungy rock from a band who’ve worked to get where they are, rather than garnering success from a first release and gradually faltering more and more from expectations.

As an album, it works decently. It’s no Sgt. Peppers, or anything in the concept album ilk, but it still feels like a cohesive whole. That said, “Walk Of Shame” is a little bit of a weak opener to the release, due mostly to the bass and drum led intro in particular and the song in general having a shallower tone than the rest of the album. “Adult Situations” is a thick album, full chords put through distortion, effects all over the place, multiple guitars. It’s just a shame that the opener pushes the 90s grunge structure of soft verse/hard chorus a little too far, leaving the verses sound thin rather than soft. Gladly, this is not representative of the album as a whole. Tome heavy drumming thickens out the sound satisfyingly, and generally is backed up by deep delving basslines. The guitar runs an eclectic mix of grunge dissonance, metal riffing, almost clean lead and, on occasion, searing solo lines. This is not including the times when it’s running through a wah pedal or reduced to cleanly strummed chords. You could listen to just the guitar parts, and have a wide aural experience. Not to forget the vocals which have just the right amount of growl for the tone (think “pissed off Smashmouth”), and have vocal lines which manage to pleasantly deviate from the norm at times.

This isn’t a perfect album by any means. The 90s have come and gone, and SOS are one of the few remnants of the music of that era, other than struggling new releases from those big names SOS seem to be inspired by. This means that either there’s a big market for people who miss that sound, or that this sort of rock has died out for a reason. Personally, I’m glad to have it. Sure, a couple of the songs are a little samey, but I guess that is “Adult Situations” toeing the fine line between having a unified sound, and all of your songs being identical. Luckily, they err mostly on the side of a unified sound. I’ll be listening to these songs for a little while to come, so maybe you should give them a listen and see if you have a hankering for a band who are “trained to rock”

7.5/10

Standout Tracks:

Daddy Like

Wasteland Temptress

Hypoxyphilia

Thanks to Mike as 316 Productions for providing the album for review.

Me, Music Snobbery and The Beatles

"If they can get along, why can't music snobs?"

I realised something about myself today. By all rights, I should be a total music snob. There are so many things about my musical taste and lifestyle which should mean I go around with the phrase “Your favourite band sucks” emblazoned on a sandwich board hung over my shoulders, screaming profanities at anyone listening to any band I deem to have ‘sold out’ and bemoaning the death of the British music industry because of the influence of the X Factor. Yet, I like to think that I have avoided this fate.

Oh sure, the snobs and I have a lot in common. One of these things is having a strong opinion on The Beatles. If you are a music snob, you either think that The Beatles are either an overrated pop band who only wish they had been born in London so they could have been The Rolling Stones, or that they are greatest thing since someone came up with the idea of bread, let alone slicing it. While I’m not quite at that extreme, I do really like The Beatles and know a hell of a lot of trivia about them. I have lost track of the amount of times I’ve just sat and listened to Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band all the way through. Knowing my fandom, my girlfriend bought me two Beatles posters and the remastered version of Yellow Submarine. I am so much of a Beatles nerd that I could instantly noticed the differences in the remastered versions of the tracks I knew on the album, and could point out that one of the posters was based on the original cover of Abbey Road, rather than the late rereleases where Paul’s cigarette was edited out. Also, I act like I’m on first name basis with the band and write The Beatles with correct capitalisation every time!

Despite all this, I would never tell anyone not to listen to anything else when they could be listening to The Beatles or something along those lines. Especially not The Rolling Stones. The Rolling Stones are a great band, and while I do prefer The Beatles, I wouldn’t want to be without Keith Richards and the rest. Satisfaction, Paint It Black, and my personal favourite, Mother’s Little Helper, I couldn’t imagine not ever listening to these songs again out some weird Beatles fuelled vendetta. Lets put it this way; I refuse to ever say the The Rolling Stones are better than The Beatles. On the other hand, I find it hard to say the opposite either, I just grew up with The Beatles, became obsessed with deconstructing what went into the Love mashup album and got hooked as a big fan during all the hype around the release of the remastered albums, and The Beatles: Rock Band.

Oh sure, there’s more possible music snobbery in me, but when it comes to The Beatles, but I’m not a snob, right? I really hope so, or I’m just lying to myself.