‘Soma Holiday’ by Greenwheel

Rating: ★★★★☆

Greenwheel aren’t the most famous alternative rock band in the world, but in 2002, offered us Soma Holiday which shows some potential in reaching the bigger stage.

In a sound that is very much like The Calling, who were made famous by their hit ‘Wherever You Will Go’, Shelter begins and displays an exciting guitar tone over an equally brilliant drum line. The song was also notably used on the soundtrack to ‘The Fast And The Furious’ film in 2001. It continues into Sustain You with more drive and vocal melodies that are creeping into The Calling’s territory. The song is full of little gems and little guitar riffs that carries a ‘feel good’ feeling throughout before leading straight into the acoustic beginning Breathe.

Despite a more softer song starting so soon on the album, Breathe’s ballad-like approach with a stronger chorus helps it settle in. In Louder Than Words, I am reminded of the Foo Fighters in the intro’ with the guitar harmonies but the song is soon taken back to a slight British pop-rock sound in the verses in the drum and vocal melody. A chorus breaks back into the bands natural tone.

Strong expresses a heavier song and it is a beautifully complex drum pattern under a distorted bass line which drives this song more before the distorted guitars take it through the chorus. Drowning Man and Faces both share a common guitar lead and direction which I found a little repetitive going into Identity, but as album fillers, they work. Identity though is a much heavier song that is driven mainly by a distorted bass line that lies solid in the lower layers of the song. Its drive sets a tone for the song that is reflected in rougher vocals that touch on a slight grunge approach.

Disappear, you could argue, has elements of what you could call a modern-grunge but continues with similar tones that the band has expressed so far. There is some more touches of this in Dim Halo, which during the verses almost mimics the Calling by its vocal melody that leads into a half as exciting chorus. A repetitive tone which has appeared to carry itself through the previous songs is becoming too repetitive despite its nice appeal.

Radiance doesn’t make much sense to me and feels like the band may have been trying to force something new in their verses, however after reaching the chorus, they succeed. There is also a nice chordal pattern in between the first and second verse which made a nice break between the sung sections. The vocal melodies creep into ballad-territory, but miss the opportunity to fully expand and stick back to the same level as the beginning of the song. The song appears a little weak and only relies on harmonies and a quieter guitar riff to give some sort of effect. The end of the album is literally titled The End.

A crunchy guitar begins before calm drums and gentle harmonies. Unfortunately, the distorted but tranquil sound is ruined by what is now an average sounding vocal melody. It does however boast an impressive bass solo which was totally unexpected, before the song continues with the beautiful music it opened with. Unfortunately vocals continue and the song seems to disappear behind a struggling melody that can’t quite match the powerful instruments behind it, including a gentle guitar solo which takes shape in the final chorus.

If you enjoy listening to The Calling, then I’d recommend giving this album a listen through. It’s something a little different but comparable enough to make a seamless transition. On its own though, this is a strong album that didn’t get the backing it needed at its first release.

 

Artist:  Greenwheel
Release Name:  Soma Holiday
Type:  Album
Date:  2002, June 22nd
Purchase Link:  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/soma-holiday/id15507104
Artist Info:  N/A
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