Saosin might go down in history with Mayday Parade as a band that could have been something spectacular to behold. Lead singer Cove Reber’s incredible vocal talent gave the group great appeal for fans of heavier rock and his fluctuating voice seemed infallible; anyone who has heard Saosin can testify to the unbelievably high notes Reber belts out on a regular basis. Penetrating and wavering vocals like Reber’s are rare in this world. When his magnificently shrill voice was complemented by great guitar and bass from Justin Shekoski, Beau Burchell, and Chris Sorenson along with Alex Rodriguez’s phenomenal drumming, Saosin was a band to keep on the radar. After such a successful self-titled debut album in 2006, the sophomore slump curse seemed almost impossible to avoid.
However, In Search Of Solid Ground defies all these misconceptions and shatters any expectations fans might have had. In any band’s discography, a great followup album maintains the appeal and originality of the debut album but also branches into new areas and expands upon the initial effort’s ideas without ruining the whole concept. Saosin delivers on all accounts here, giving listeners something extraordinary and masterfully executed to behold.
“Deep Down” follows the album’s stellar opening track with a killer beginning guitar rhythm accompanied by equally catchy drums. Reber’s vocals don’t particularly stand out on this track and while the tempo picks up for the chorus, the vocals remain in the same octave until the very end. The song’s true strength lies in its beat and pacing, which gives it a stylishly appealing and dramatic feel.
“Changing” immediately draws the listener in with an alluring guitar rhythm and a consistent beat that foreshadows the intensity and speed of the chorus. Reber softly coos for the verses before erupting into high-pitched wailing for the chorus, contributing to the overall escalating tension and drama of the song. Reber’s vocals soar sky-high during the climax, drop off to build up the final chorus, and then finish the song off perfectly by ending with a repetition of the drop-off: “You fall apart and then you…stop.” The music video does the song’s sweet drop-off justice as well.
“The Worst Of Me” features slower verses that end with a brief pause to build up anticipation for a chorus that fulfills the hype. The backup vocals in the chorus lend to the tragic nature of the song. This track also contains one of the album’s best climactic breakdowns that leads into an epic final chorus. Reber’s vocals shine brightest on this track as his vocal range is really put to the test for each chorus. Even with 13 incredible tracks on the record, this song wastes no time in establishing itself as the best on the album.
“Is This Real” makes the mistake of using verses that are slightly too fast-paced to be fully enjoyable, but they transitions into the slower chorus well. Saosin is stronger than ever lyrically, touching on humanity’s wish for something more tangible than the fake things we sometimes fall into. There is a clever section where everything slows down and drops off before building back up again for the crescendo. This serves as a good segue into the final chorus and adds to its mystifying manner.
“Nothing Is What It Seems (Without You)” is a very touching song about losing someone you love. It voices both the clarity of the singer’s mindset and the sureness of his values in addition to the obvious sadness and confusion that comes with losing someone. This song is slightly bluesy as a whole but is also uplifting before the final heartrending chorus. The song’s intensity is complacent and as whole it is lyrically simple, but the thoughts being expressed are valid, pertinent and pervading enough that the words don’t need any over-exaggerated complexity. Saosin demonstrates the ability to diversify their music with this moving ballad.
Saosin managed something that many bands fail to do: they followed up a very sound debut album with a phenomenal sophomore effort that surpasses the former in every way. In Search Of Solid Ground will go down as the band’s crowning achievement, not only because it might be impossible to produce better music than this, but also because of Cove Reber’s departure from the band. It is immensely unfortunate to know that Reber’s vocal talent was diminishing due to his personal lifestyle, not only because the edgy and piercing nature of his one-of-a-kind vocals can never be duplicated, but also because it most likely will mean the end of a very promising group.
From the dramatically intense “On My Own” to the long and epic finale, “Fireflies (Light Messengers),” Saosin’s mood is consistent throughout, pulsing with intensity and life amidst a reflective tone. It is sad to think that fans may never get to experience music like this from Saosin again.
Final Score: 9.6/10
Rank: 1st (two total albums)
- I Keep My Secrets Safe
- Deep Down
- Why Can’t You See
- On My Own
- The Alarming Sound Of A Still Small Voice
- Say Goodbye
- The Worst Of Me
- It’s All Over
- What We Were Made For
- Is This Real
- Nothing Is What It Seems (Without You)
- Fireflies (Light Messengers)