A healthy dose of isolation has become a popular ingredient in the songwriting process. After scampering off to the middle of nowhere, musicians emerge some months later with fresh songs in their back pockets. The story's the same for hip-hop artist Sole, who spent the last two years in the Coconino National Forest. For an artist singularly disgusted with modern society's superficiality, the departure seems appropriate.
Disturbed by a culture spoiled on instant gratification and over-stimulation, Sole delivers scathing critiques on his new effort. He name-drops Cormac McCarthy early in the album, a reference that seems fitting given the dark tone. The Skyrider Band does an admirable job at matching the agitated lyrical content with a sonic equivalent. Synthesized and traditional instrumentation combine to create a jittery, occasionally thunderous backing. Wisely eschewing more obvious hooks, Plastique keeps Sole's dizzying lyrics center-stage.
For an album brimming with such discontent, the lyrics contain relatively little despair. That quality saves Sole from the crazy street-preacher archetype, landing him instead in more respectable John the Baptist territory. As a modern-day voice crying from the wilderness, Sole finds plenty to hate about society but isn't ready to give up on it yet.
Sole and the Skyrider Band play the Palace Friday, Nov. 19, at 9 PM with Egadz and local openers. $5/$4 with canned food donation.