• Pre-Order : Soulside “A Brief Moment in the Sun” LP
Pre-Order by 15th Feb 2023
Formed when the members were teens in Washington D.C. in 1985, Soulside spent the rest of the decade releasing records with the help of Ian MacKaye and Eli Janney. They toured extensively and were one of (if not the) first Western band to play in East Berlin leading up to collapse of the wall. The band broke up in 1989, then reformed in 2014, and again in 2020.
Early on, Soulside found inspiration from funk and reggae as well as punk, and were often – inaccurately and to their chagrin – described as Fugazi-derivative. But the two bands did share influences and a willingness to expand from hardcore formality into the broader, more experimental, more atmospheric sound that would come to be associated with post-hardcore.
Soulside doesn’t sound a whole lot like they did in, say, 1989, and why should they? The sharper edges of frontman Bobby Sullivan’s hardcore holler, once very similar to MacKaye’s, have been smoothed over. His vocals, now stronger but more subtle, are bolstered by Scott McCloud’s expansive, varied guitar, Johnny Temple’s rattling bass and Alexis Fleisig’s spacious drum sound. There’s a straight-ahead punk song or two, but this is mostly an anthemic, big-sounding record which often approaches arena-rock.
A Brief Moment, written from the member’s four separate locales in the midst of lockdown, never feels like an attempt to recapture the past, and it is full of the grief and the joy that are inherent in both looking back and looking forward. The songs are catchy if sometimes a bit corny – a pitfall nearly impossible for any band with this trajectory to avoid. But the occasional clichéd rhyme is overshadowed by a throughline of sincere joy and hope. We’ve never seen times like these, but Soulside is here to remind us that love is the constant.