Sola-Mi - Nexus: Official Motion Picture Soundtrack
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: June 14, 2012
Derek Webb may arguably be Nashville's best kept secret. The singer-songwriter, who earned a name for himself by being one of the founding members of Christian rock group Caedmon's Call, has quietly re-energized his career by reinventing himself and his artistic vision year after year.
After the release of his genre-bending and much criticized effort Stockholm Syndrome, he went in an even more polarizing direction with the electronic-inspired effort Feedback, an instrumental album based on The Lord's Prayer. While some found both albums a bit jarring, the charms of both have paved the way for Sola-Mi, a triumvirate that also includes vocalist Latifah Phillips and producer Josh Moore, the latter having co-produced both Stockholm Syndrome and Feedback. In addition to being the trio's debut album, Nexus also serves as the official motion picture soundtrack for Nexus, a fictional narrative film directed by Solomon Mente.
As an album it is absolutely tremendous. "Mother Mother," rises like a siren and never lets up, while "Crowd of Silent Strangers," uses bleeps and blips to drive home an arresting and hypnotic ballad about love, life and the human condition. Namedropping both the film and the band's moniker, the five-minute epic is arguably one of 2012's strongest songs and the very reason why Sola-Mi might easily be one of 2012's most exciting new bands.
"The Blessing of Being Bloodless," and "Trust Falling, " are the most commercial efforts on Nexus and ones that given the right amount of attention and promotion, could easily infiltrate the blogosphere and make a giant dent. While "Trust Falling," is probably the easier choice for first single, the strength of "The Blessing of Being Bloodless," should not be overlooked.
Atmospheric, airy and absolutely astounding, Nexus is the sound of three Nashville artists who perfectly understand their talents and strengths. Not only that, they recognize their potential and capabilities and know when to push them forward. That Nexus is so strong is certainly not surprising, but that it is this timeless and transcendent is nothing short of breathtaking. While Moore and Webb certainly deserve kudos and acclaim for their work on the project, the true star is Phillips, a veritable unknown, who has taken full advantage of her time in the spotlight. If Sola-Mi happens to fall short, it will have at least served one grand purpose. It has signaled the introduction to one of Nashville's most unheralded female singer-songwriters.
Expertly produced, exquisitely sung, gorgeously arranged, Nexus is everything that's right about contemporary music. Sure the name Sola-Mi may be new and sure the personnel involved may be unfamiliar, but spend some time with Nexus. You won't regret it.