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Saosin - In Search of Solid Ground Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 7
Lyrics 7.25
Production 6
Creativity 7
Lasting Value 6.5
Reviewer Tilt 7.5
Final Verdict: 71%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.88
Musicianship 7
Lyrics 7.04
Production 7.33
Creativity 6.13
Lasting Value 5.42
Reviewer Tilt 6.96
Average: 68%
Inside AP.net

Saosin - In Search of Solid Ground

Reviewed by: kswizzle (09/03/09)
Saosin - In Search of Solid Ground
Record Label: Capitol
Release Date: September 8, 2009

I have always loved Saosin. When I was in high school, Translating the Name came out. I was blown away. I said, "How can this band be among my top ten favorite bands with only five songs?" Then, when the self titled album dropped, it cemented them as pretty much my favorite band. Their style just clicked so well and encompassed some many different types of music I liked. Saosin does have a habit of making their fans wait for new material, and I have been eagerly awaiting this album. Which brings me to the review. I have to look at In Search of Solid Ground from two perspectives: First, as a diehard Saosin fan and second, as someone with a new album coming across his desk.

Up first: the die hard fan. Needless to say, I'm dissapointed. I've read a few reviews and one of the biggest complaints is that they are not producing the riffs and edge of past efforts (the verse riff for "Collapse" is still one of my favorites) and have gone soft. Now, I can't complain too much, because I have seen so many bands fluctuate their sound over the years (e.g. Avenged Sevenfold, Thrice, etc.), and it's not necessarily a bad thing. However, I do feel that the songs here aren't the strongest in Saosin's catalog, regardless of style. There wasn't any wow factor to these songs. On the self titled album, I seemed to have a new favorite track every few weeks. I must have listened to the vocal harmony and drum fill on "Follow and Feel" about fifteen times in a row because I was just so blown away. Instead I feel that half the songs have a radio airplay gloss over them, a rhythm based on straight up chord strumming and less creative riffs.

It seems like production and vocals were given too much time compared to the real song writing. I hear a lot of these songs and think they have some nugget of hope in them, but they just seem to be produced to match up with just standard radio rock. Take "Fireflies"; I keep hearing the chorus and I can imagine live it can turn out to be pretty cool and a crowd pleaser, but for some reason the track just seems weak, just passing through my ears. I really did like the three demos that were released on the Grey EP and felt they were pretty solid but when it came to making the actual album, the same songs (Why Can't You See, I Keep My Secrets Safe, and The Worst of Me) sound over-produced and the change in vocal arrangement just seems to take away from the songs. I feel that the production of the album is it's greatest downfall, followed by half an album of generic filler tracks, and the distortion on the rhythm guitar just doesn't cut it for me. It just stays the same between many tracks and seems too "dirty" compared to the over production on most tracks. I remember an interview with Saosin where they said on Translating the Name, there was one distortion, and that was Saosin's sound. And on Saosin, they really experimented with the sound to make the distortion that was the best for each song. In Search of Solid Ground seems to just pick one irritating, crunchy sound and roll with it.There are a few good and strong songs on here, don't get me wrong. But the album as a whole is a letdown, especially if you want to hear something awesome out of Mr. Rodriguez.

If I were a newcomer to Saosin, I would probably think it was a decent debut effort. Not something that I would keep coming back to, but if songs came up on my shuffle, I would probably take notice. The songs do feel like some good old-fashioned rock radio tracks with their booming choruses like on "Nothing Is What It Seems" and "Deep Down." However the sound of this album brings too many other bands to mind and doesn't separate Saosin from the pack. I feel a lot of these songs could have been from The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and their Lonely Road sessions (except slightly better). The single "Changing" feels like it was written by The Used. The beginning of "Deep Down" could be at home on an Incubus album. While Saosin can be lumped in with a lot of these bands, they need to have something to set them apart and that is missing on this album. Especially after hearing the song "You Never Noticed Me," meant for the Japanese release, you start to think that the sound of what made the album was dictated by suits. Some fresh ears might take the album better but only to a certain point.

Saosin unfortunately may have fallen victim to the music industry game. Having the recording process on display at Hurley studios and all the tie-ins with Hurley and Pacific Sunwear surrounding this album only conjures up memories of Cartel and their "Band in a Bubble" experience with Dr. Pepper and their dismal sophomore LP. I have hope that some of these songs may have some legs in a live set and can only hope that this is the case, or that the band breaks tradition and heads back to the studio sometime before 2012.

Favorite Tracks"On My Own"; "Is This Real"; "The Worst of Me"


Recommended If You LikeThe Used, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, 30 Seconds to Mars


http://myspace.com/saosin
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 35.
08:22 AM on 09/12/09
#2
bifforama1
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Cove states in the DVD for this album that Incubus is and always has been his favorite band, so that would probably explain the Incubus influences. Not sure what you're problem with "Changing" is. It's still Saosin, just with a different feel. I think you should proud of them for branching out! And the song is called "Deep Down", not "Keep Down". :)
08:48 AM on 09/12/09
#3
cereal4life
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The second paragraph is massive; I actually find it visually distracting and an impediment from wanting to read it. Good review though, man. Still yet to listen to this; waiting for a let-down myself.
09:50 AM on 09/12/09
#4
kswizzle
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Cove states in the DVD for this album that Incubus is and always has been his favorite band, so that would probably explain the Incubus influences. Not sure what you're problem with "Changing" is. It's still Saosin, just with a different feel. I think you should proud of them for branching out! And the song is called "Deep Down", not "Keep Down". :)

yeah thanks for correcting the deep down issue. I was trying to download "bury me" while writing this and on the screen above it said "keep down." my bad. I will say changing is slowly growing on me. And I am proud of them branching out and not writing S/T 2. But I feel it was more an exercise in trying to write something specifically different than what they would have wrote if they were just writing (if that makes sense). That's why I feel like "Bury Me" and "You Never Noticed Me" which are both phenomenal songs (among my favorites by the band altogether) were cut. The album is getting better with more listens, but for an audience that will drop an album after just a listen and they don't like it...i feel it's an impediment.
09:52 AM on 09/12/09
#5
kswizzle
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The second paragraph is massive; I actually find it visually distracting and an impediment from wanting to read it. Good review though, man. Still yet to listen to this; waiting for a let-down myself.

thanks for the advice, i'll keep it in mind though if i ever write a second review. if you are a fan of the band, I'll say give it a listen...put it down. give it another listen the next day...it will not blow you away, but it gets a little better. I guess just be a bit more patient than me, but don't expect the mona lisa.
12:40 PM on 09/12/09
#6
HCO SF 87
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Good review, I agree that this album is OK on it's own, but if you take into account Saosin's previous efforts, it just sucks haha. I think "Say Goodbye" is a pretty decent song though.

But yeah I think Bury Me is one of the best songs they've ever written; the main riff in the song is just tooo sick.

I saw an interview with Beau on youtube, and he said their plan is to tour a while on this and then head back into the studio earlier than usual, so there's not such a long cycle between albums this time.
08:38 AM on 09/13/09
#7
LastDeclaration
mmm tasty
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Cartel's self-titled was far from dismal.
09:09 AM on 09/13/09
#8
fly_guy
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Cove's vocals on this album seem so forced. He cant sing as high as he was trying to
06:25 AM on 09/14/09
#9
Handraa
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Good review, but I'm almost positive this was released on Virgin Records
08:46 PM on 09/14/09
abellaw
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I would have to agree i think that this album was the weakest saosin release. The whole time i was listening to this album i was thinking about how much more i liked conditions.
06:04 PM on 09/17/09
Yellowcard2006
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I can't imagine waiting until 2012 (when I graduate college) for a new Saosin album. Good review. I you give the album at higher rating though...maybe an 83%
06:41 PM on 09/17/09
Brett9
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Really a great review...I enjoyed reading it. I would agree with you on almost all points. I actually was NOT "anticipating" this album - I loved the self-titled, but for some reason wasn't all that excited about this release. When they released the stream on myspace, I broke my rule and checked it out (knowing the sound quality would be what it is). It's funny, because I had pretty much the opposite opinion of most other people. I actually kinda liked what I was hearing. It led me to go out and buy the album, and I still really enjoy it. I completely agree that it's not up to par with their previous stuff, but I just found it fun to listen to (as a whole). I think that the criticism is (mostly) deserved, but I also think that this album is getting trashed way more than it should. Just my opinion...
07:12 PM on 09/17/09
The Gryphonator
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It's a solid release, but definitely not as badass as their S/T. One thing that Saosin needs top stop doing is releasing so many songs before the album is fully released. When I finally listened to the album, I already heard almost half the album already! They released Secrets, Why Can't You See, Changing, On My Own, The Worst of Me, and Is this Real? before the album even hit stores. And I didn't even illegally download any of the songs, they were offcially released!

Yeah, bad idea. You maybe have gotten a few more bucks from me, but still.

Also, the fireflies closer is not epic in any way.
07:17 PM on 09/17/09
sasalukac
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this album suffers a bit in the continuity department for me. there are some great songs (Deep Down, Say Goodbye, Worst of Me) and some very good ones (Changing, On My Own, It's All Over Now, Is This Real) but it's not as solid throughout as the first effort. as a past diehard fan of Saosin myself, i have to admit that i realized i have outgrown this style in general, and the fact that i still enjoyed this release quite a bit is good enough for me :)
07:20 PM on 09/17/09
RoboZombieKitty
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Loved the self-titled but for some reason I'm not really feeling this one at all. I'll have to give it a few more spins I suppose. Still a fan of this band and I'm looking fwd to their next cd :P
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