Bryant Micheal Waghorn can make your head spin with his creativity and output as a singer, songwriter, project leader and musical collaborator. The album, “The Edge Of It All” by his pet project Solomon’s Architects, featuring multi-instrumentalist and producer Luc Michaud, as well as collaborator Josie Elysia, is a nod to the great pop, prog and rock crossover artists such as Peter Gabriel, the elaborate tropes of The Mars Volta, the complex bombast of King Crimson and the shuddering rhythms of Rush, with a thick smudging of REM-styled, organic singer-songwriter flair. Add a clear-headed ear for melody and arrangement to the equation, and you’re almost halfway to understanding the Solomon’s Architects musical vision. Consider that the album’s title track, “The Edge of it All”, was written in 2002, and you’ll understand that this project spans 17 years of musical growth. Hence it promises one hectic genre blend, thirteen-song journey, right from the start.
Fans may likely argue forever about the perfect genre categorization of this album, but we’ll all be able to agree that lyrically Bryant Micheal Waghorn is just as one would hope for – deep, thoughtful and uncompromising. While the musical scale of the album is grandiose, Waghorn’s storytelling abilities are just as strong.
Each of his songs expands his sonic palette with a variety of instrumentation, influences, and effects. Solomon’s Architects’ borderless approach to music is underlined by the warm, lush production that recreates the fondly remembered organic sound of classic rock records. The band’s sound is enveloped in a pristinely preserved musical framework which empowers its transformative potential.
However, Bryant Micheal Waghorn goes beyond pure musical pastiche as his visceral songwriting emerges song after song. Each track reveals glimpses of the conceptual coherence and deeply felt emotions that makes this record as excellent as it is. The larger point is that with his creativity, comes authenticity and that is as much what makes Solomon’s Architects’ music transcendent as is his ability to write a great song.
The album opens with the strong percussion of the titular track as cleanly picked guitar notes build the suspense. From there the song soars with strings and layered instrumentation that set the tone of explosions to come. Solomon’s Architects never give away the good parts without the listener having to earn it by paying attention.
“You Can Fly” runs on an aggressive guitar riff, incessant drums and high flying vocals. Waghorn’s voice counters with the rhythms perfectly and he does a brilliant job of adding urgency to the lyrics. “Everything Changes” is more melodic and catchy with chugging guitars and breathy vocals, that drip with emotion. At times the stop-start rhythms are bone-crushing.
“Creature” is another song that will stick in your head long after the album has finished. The captivating Pete Gabriel flavors abound here, as it does on the sprawling “Try Again”. “The Day You Tell Me” forges some delightful string and vocal arrangements, while “Gone Astray” is simply breathtaking.
It is hard to imagine anyone else having the ability to shape a simple song in such a manner. It is a continuous flow of one idea that keeps evolving. The vocal harmonies on this song alone might make this album worth a listen. Solomon’s Architects are masters of song construction. No song on this album is just a repeat of parts.
Each song is its own story; each follows its own progression and has its own purpose. “No Time For That” is every bit as inventive and exciting as anything else on this recording, and one of my absolute favorites. It ensnared me in its powerfully emotive web. Moving ahead the album never loses momentum, or variety in sound.
From the upbeat “The Look in Your Eyes”, to the warm organic tones of “Healing Time”, the rich acoustic strum of “All I Need From You”, and the story of Waghorn’s journey into freemasonry on “So Mote It Be”, which similarly impressed me with its engrossing tale, Solomon’s Architects’ brand of organic rock refuses to stand still. Hence, it’s no surprise that each component part of their sound is immaculate.
By the time the album closes with “The Search”, it’s clear that Solomon’s Architects fuse a compelling musical depth with their undeniable soaring choruses, proving that it is possible to write interesting, mature, intelligent, hard-hitting and legitimately progressive music in an accessible way. There are still a few days left, but overall, “The Edge Of It All” by Solomon’s Architects, may just be the best independently produced album I have heard all year!
Solomon’s Architects will be releasing their brand new sophomore album in the summertime of 2020, called “Jet Fuel Juliet”.