Reviewed by Ian Morales.
Eric Nicolau’s voice isn’t going to set the world on fire, but it’s a perfect fit for Sol Giant’s harmonious pop-rock style on their self-released debut EP, Strangers. Expect comparisons to The Fray or even The Kooks. It really just depends on which song you’re listening to. “Where I’m Supposed to Be” is their boppy, indie-ish track with a nice little bass groove. The problem with boppy little indie ditties is that they sound like every other boppy indie song. It’s a safe, easy way to make a song that no one can really hate and is easy to play live.
Sol Giant strikes a much better chord and shows some personality on tracks like the modern-rock opener, “Wide Eyed”. You will immediately be pulled in by the ’70s garage-rock guitar riff before it turns into a pop song. Just when you’re about to change the song, there’s a little Latin flavor, and that ’70s psychedelic guitar riff from the song’s intro returns.
“Don’t You Lie To Me” gives the listener some generic pop-rock flavor with a safe, radio-friendly track. Why they would choose to use a cheesy echo effect on Nicolau’s voice is a mystery. Isn’t that what producers do to vocalists who can’t sing? Eric Nicolau’s voice is one of the strengths of Sol Giant, so to mess with it takes away from them.
There are a couple of “buzzworthy” tracks on Sol Giant’s Strangers EP. Right when you will be about ready to give up on Sol Giant, they totally save themselves. In what is a very melodic, ambient post-rockesque gem, “Strangers We Call Friends” should be in your iPod as of yesterday; it’s a great listen from beginning to end. The EP concludes with the acoustic indie-folk track “Been To The Mountain”, which is the best testament to Nicolau’s vocal talent. Yes, he can carry a tune, and this sort of indie-folk style is when he’s at his best. Sol Giant is a band that will appeal to fans of Coldplay, The Fray and many Top 40 listeners.