Lo-Fi High Five

Sol 17 (Independent)
Sol 17

By David Lilly

A strange compliment is a compliment, nonetheless. The first thing I thought when I heard "Matador," the first song on this disc, was that it sounds like a Traveling Wilburys outtake with Mr. Dylan singing lead. That sincerely is a compliment, despite the fact that Sol 17's lead singer happens to be female. Thus begins the debut full-length CD from a Louisville band known as Sol 17. The name sounds kinda esoteric to me, but there's probably a plain enough reason behind it. Anyway, in this case, "sol" definitely has nothing to do with stools you can't climb or the gauge of luck being on empty.

Vocalist Melissa Gaddie also plays bass and can sound similar to nasally Bob when her vocals are low-volume. Not so when she belts the lyrics out. Gaddie is one of the few survivors of numerous changes in band membership since the late 20th century, the current lineup including Ray Wegimont on guitar and Drew Duvall on drums. Without describing each song and analyzing every lyric, I shall confide in you that, as a middle-aged male, throughout this disc I hear hints of a very young Jonathan Richman, a bit of Robyn Hitchcock, and varieties of R.E.M., the latter whose stronger flavors Sol17 could aspire to.

Another tip of the hat is that this music sounds as if it was recorded in someone's spare room or perhaps a shed, though it was actually recorded at Native-Tongue Productions (which, for all I know, is a shed or spare room; no offense intended). If you would like to hear samples of the fruit of that work prior to shelling out your allowance or hard-earned money for the whole disc (it's worth it), go on over to

www.mp3.com/sol_17

and listen away. After that enjoyable (the power of suggestion works) experience, let the band know how you feel about their music by writing to

Sol17@earthlink.net