By Christine Leonard
CALGARY — They may be Montreal’s most succinct rock and roll outfit, but according to vocalist/guitarist Xavier Germain-Poitras, Solids didn’t set out with the intention of stealing their city’s limelight as a heavily melancholic two-piece entity. Lauded for the ability to generate dreamy yet synthetic musical discourses that resonate with raw and ready guitar work, the pair soon made a name for themselves as an unassuming but emotionally charged vehicle that encapsulates QC’s urbane ennui. United with co-conspirator drummer/vocalist Louis Guillemette, Germain-Poitras successfully tested the post-pop waters with a 7-inch entitled “Fog Friends b/w Blown Out” in October of 2011 and found common ground on a second 7-inch, which they amicably split with Animal Friends in March of 2013. A duo by default, Solids has been steadily gaining momentum thanks to their winning personalities and genuine affection for putting on high-energy live performances.
“This will be our first time fly out to Calgary to play a show that isn’t part of a larger tour,” Germain-Poitras explains. “The last time we came through town was for the Sled Island Festival and it was completely amazing. We played two shows on that trip. The first one was held at a really small venue, which was just the perfect setting for us. The second night we were given the opportunity to open for Bob Mould. It was a real ‘bucket list’ moment! We couldn’t have asked for more. After that, we went on a couple of other tours and have just had our first bit of time off all year long. It’s pretty exhausting, but we are really excited about coming back and playing again.”
Thanking his lucky stars for the good fortune that has befallen him and Guillemette, thus far, Germain-Poitras looks forward to introducing Calgary concertgoers to a live rendition of Solids’ first full-length album, Blame Confusion. Released in February of 2014 via Fat Possum Records (World) and Dine Alone Records (Canada), the 10-song long Blame Confusion was recorded, mixed and produced with the assistance of Adrian Popovich (Elephant Stone, Sam Roberts, The Dears, Barn Burner) at Mountain City Studio in July 2013. Steeped in dark modernity and echoing the austere modernity of ‘90s alt-rock (think The Wedding Present or Polvo), Solids have tread carefully when it comes to navigating the maudlin emo-punk minefield. Leaving messy sentiment to the eyeliner kids, Blame Confusion twists Germain-Poitras and Guillemette’s multifaceted magnetic harmonies into a hot-n-taut tug-of-war between instinct and intellect. Hard-edged rhythms run rampant over stripped-down melodies as Solids exchange blows and compare skill-sets throughout well-turned tracks such as “Over the Sirens,” “Off White,” “Cold Hands.”
“We’re starting to write new stuff that will complement our current set list,” says Germain-Poitras. “The aim is to develop an intro and outro that will allow us to transition between songs and still include all of the Blame Confusion material. Initially, we thought we could try to write while we were on the road, but it’s proved to be hard to do that. After trying a few things on the acoustic guitar, we realized that we kind of need our whole amp set up or the songs we wrote wouldn’t have the same effect. So far, the new stuff still retains the same lineage but tries to expand the spectrum of intensity displayed on Blame Confusion.
“It gets to the point where you feel like you’re trying to fill the too much of the audio spectrum. At present, we’re trying to work with more ‘jammy’ dynamics. Less strumming super-fast. Less drummer super-fast. Mostly grounded, driving stuff. Of course, there’s always the temptation to try to add more!”
See Solids in Calgary at the Palomino on January 30.AB, Alberta, Palomino, Solids