Nearly a decade in the making counting the original songwriting sessions between principals Sergie Loobkoff and Garrett Klahn, Solea's self-titled debut album is a solid emo-pop album that combines the best aspects of the two leaders' former bands, the first-generation emo kids Texas Is the Reason and the long-running pop-punk act Samiam. Mixing the former's emotional intensity with the latter's energy and knack for catchy hooks, the 11 songs on Solea have an immediately appealing tunefulness that many emo bands lack. Harmonies, riffs and singalong choruses predominate on the album; it's as if Pinkerton-era Weezer had decided to stop moping and release a Big Star-like power pop record. Highlighted by the surging "I'm Waiting," a could-have-been hit in the style of Jimmy Eat World's pop-emo, and the maddeningly catchy "Shuffle" (apparently the first song Klahn and Loobkoff ever wrote together back in the mid-'90s), Solea is an engaging, satisfying release, and well worth the wait.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason