|2022||Diaspora Problems||Soul Glo||★★★★½||87||Rock||Punk Rock||Post-Hardcore|
Every few years I come across a creative album that a lot of people are talking about and that on first listen I’m a bit puzzled about. What is this exactly? What genre is this? I kind of like what I’m hearing, but I don’t know if it’s actually good.
Sometimes the albums grow on me, sometimes they fade away, and sometimes — in the case of Soul Glo — they become one of my favorite records of the year, and something I go back to over and over and over.
Hardcore music isn’t always my jam. I tend to prefer punk music if I’m looking for something with energy. Punk can be a little more melodic and accessible with a similar vibe compared to hardcore songs, which usually end up breaking down and devolving into noise and creative shouting.
That said, Soul Glo is the shit. Everything they do feels deliberate while staying organic and carefree. They do so many different things on their songs — from shouting, to singing to rapping, from electric guitars, to horns, to synths and dial tones, from live drums to drum machines and rogue industrial sounds. Most of it is incorporated in fun ways that add depth and layers instead of just cranking up the volume. The band just feels like they’re having fun making music together and throwing different elements in.
With each listen, I have a new favorite song. Sometimes it’s “Thumbsucker,” a punk-styled rager with horns, or “Gold Chain Punk,” with its triumphant opening section and hardcore breakdown, or “We Want Revenge,” a loud, heavy, straight-up rock song.
Most of the time, though, it’s one of the hip-hop tracks. “Driponomics” is essentially a souped-up drill song with pounding bass, screeching guitar tones and an intense feature verse by Mother Maryrose. “Spiritual Level of Gang Shit” seems like it should be corny, but the song slaps, with a 90s funk vibe that feels like Rap Rock but actually… good? It’s kind of amazing how all you need is a real vocalist or rapper to make rap rock palatable. The build at the end with the horns and hard core vocals are the icing on the cake.
Yes, sometimes Soul Glo strays away from the center a bit too much for me, a reminder that it is indeed hardcore music. Something like shouting “Who’s gon beat my ass” is a good line once or twice, but maybe not for a whole two minutes. Overall though, it’s a fun, creative, get-amped album with a lot to say in a genre that usually has a whole lot of noise and not much else.