Anytime Solid State announces they’ve signed a new band, I’m very reserved in my excitement. The label I used to love so much no longer gets unwavering support. Too many bands that just aren’t what I had come to expect from Solid State. So hearing about The Ongoing Concept, I was holding judgment until I gave the band a listen.
But when I watched the band’s video for Cover Girl, I was in love. It was ballsy and bold. Original and interesting. It was the perfect introduction. It had me hooked. No matter what the rest of the record sounded like, I was on the hook for at least one spin through Saloon.
In all honesty, The Ongoing Concept is a band we’ve all heard before. It’s screamo. But it’s done with a creative twist that takes The Ongoing Concept from your average, run of the mill, scene band, to a band worth watching.
After a fun, country western movie style intro, the band busts into the album’s title track. Saloon hits with the fury of bands like Refused and Snapcase. Total destruction on the opening of the track before the bar room piano kicks in (you read that right). The song goes through phases, from chaotic to weird, before settling down and then taking flight again. It’s a good introduction to what you’re getting on the album.
Cover Girl might be the best hardcore song with a banjo I’ve ever heard. The song about being original delivers musically. High flying and aggressive but the banjo “breakdown” that makes its way through the track creates a great contrast between being a copycat song and something fresh and energetic in the hardcore genre. Fakes and Failures is part a song you’ve heard before and part amazing Dillinger Escape Plan riffage. Like Autumn has an amazing piano riff before the song flies off the handles and into chaos. It’s my favorite track on the record. Mostly because the song is one of the only ones on Saloon that doesn’t dip into any genre pitfalls but is three minutes and twenty-nine seconds of pure passionate fury.
Of course their are songs that are good but don’t jump off the page. Sidelines is an extremely chill piano ballad. It almost feels out of place but the album is so all over the place that you just accept it. Little Situation and Class Of Twenty-Ten both have a southern metal feel that reminds me of the first two Maylene records.
Goodbye, So Long My Love closes the record. It starts as a sort of jazzy, piano song before the instrumentation picks up and the song slowly builds into nothing where heavily reverbed piano and vocals comes screaming at you. A string section slowly plays and the song again falsely builds, pauses, and then explodes. The song ends with a female vocal singing. It’s such an odd ending but considering the way the album started, nothing seems off limits.
Saloon isn’t a mind blowing record but it’s full of great songs that showcase tons of potential. There’s nothing bad about any of the songs on Saloon. But because what’s great is so great that the moments that are just good fall a little flat. Still, The Ongoing Concept is one of the most creative bands to hit Solid State in years. Saloon is something fresh for a scene that’s too often a parody of itself.