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