Sole and the Skyrider Band Plastique

Sole and the Skyrider BandPlastique
Despite two years living as a hermit in a cabin in the middle of the Coconino National Forest in Arizona, Sole shows he still has a lot to bitch about with new album Plastique, his second backed by recent collaborators the Skyrider Band. But the older, wiser Sole is also less angry and less extreme, aware that his power to affect change comes through his lyrics. "I used to rap fast but them words was wasted," he spits on "Longshots," an album highlight on which he also criticizes his younger, more naïve self. While Sole continues to deliver each word with the intensity of a bullet shot from a machinegun, slowing down his rapid-fire delivery makes it easier to hear what he has to say. After all, his dense, sarcastic, stream-of-consciousness poetry offers more than enough opportunity for those looking for a challenge. As well, the beats, although beautifully constructed by multi-instrumentalist William Ryan Fitch, drummer John Wagner and producer Bud Berning, can sometimes overwhelm Sole's vocals. Still, the mix of live drums and samples offers a lot of versatility in the beats, moving from indie rock drum solos to stuttering, glitch-y drum samples. And the additional instrumentation on this album creates an airy, eerie atmosphere with lots of movement within the music. Possibly Sole's most accessible album so far, Plastique is still a rewarding challenge. (Fake Four Inc.)