Solutions, Caesars Rome, I Am Hope - Barfly, Cardiff, Saturday 15 March 2010

Monday 17 May 2010, 09:20

James McLaren James McLaren

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On the bill were two of the bands I've been writing about as Wales' 'next generation' of rock bands: I Am Hope and Caesars Rome.

On the night they were impressive, with Caesars Rome displaying the post-hardcore and melodic punk sensibilities they avow, with a slight space-rock, proggy element that surprises me, but worked well. I Am Hope played to a decent audience, engaging well - if politely - with their more indie-influenced rock.

But for me the band of the night was Cardiff's own Solutions.

solutions01.jpg

Is it nostalgia? Possibly; I'm always aware that I have a soft spot for bands who remind me of the music of my youth, and Solutions definitely nod their heads to the American melodic hardcore that formed a large part of my musical education. The choruses could have come from Samiam or a range of Revelation Records bands: Farside, Shades Apart or State Of The Nation.

Some of the structures were a bit more off-kilter and put me in mind of the Dischord Records back catalogue: Fugazi or Rites Of Spring.

Yes, this was old-fashioned punk rock music, but they played with admirably accomplished enthusiasm and a sense of entertainment. Sure, they're not the finished article, and they need a bit more live polish, but Solutions made me smile.

Lead singer Nicky Williams, a wiry livewire with an impressive tattoo collection, owns his stage, bashing out power pop chords, and has a proper punk rock frontman presence. Drummer Robin Williams and bassist Kai Woolen-Lewis, meanwhile, provided a beefy, solid rhythm section.

Their self-released début album, Before The Roars, features a few tunes that some much-vaunted established bands would be deservedly proud of. Fighting Tiger and You Can't Outnumber A Mathmetician are the most obvious of these. A new four-track EP is due for release in the next few weeks, so if like me you're a sucker for the power pop punk of bands with brains, this threepiece may tickle your fancy.

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