So Solid Crew

They Don't Know

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An army of producers/rappers/chatters/vocalists capable of overwhelming Roni Size's Reprazent or Wu-Tang Clan with little difficulty, So Solid Crew can't quite translate their numerical superiority and energetic sound into a solid album. The group splashed onto the British charts with a slate of up-tempo garage nuggets featuring plenty of braggadocio plus some irresistible production work. Those tracks -- "Oh No," "21 Seconds," the title track -- are here, obviously, with the rhythmic hailstorm "Oh No" featuring So Solid trading off tough British raps with diva vocals. A few album tracks ("If It Was Me," "Deeper") get it right too, with all the garage staples -- hit-'em-low tech basslines, stuttered rhythms, tongue-twisting chatting, and falsetto harmonies cribbed from American R&B. The rest suffer from lack of songwriting, new ideas, even a good groove at times. A few too many weak rhymes on the half-lines, a few too many faux-dramatic symphonic synthesizer lines, a few too many tracks altogether (there are 20 in all. From this, their debut full-length, it's clear So Solid Crew are better heard on the handful of essential British garage mixes than their own hour-long production.

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