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Reviews

Soul Glo “Diaspora Problems” Album Review

Diaspora Problems

Soul Glo

  • Genre: Alternative
  • Release Date: 2022-03-25
  • Explicitness: explicit
  • Track Count: 12
  • ℗ 2022 Epitaph

The new album from Philadelphia’s Soul Glo, Diaspora Problems, should be viewed as nothing short of a new tectonic shift in the world of hardcore punk. The rage contained within the 12 songs on Diaspora Problems is potent enough to launch anyone clinging to the status quo or softening aggressive music out of an airlock into space to make way for a better tomorrow.

Listening to Diaspora Problems, you get the sense that Soul Glo are less concerned with getting the opportunity to perform a medley of new tunes on a prestigious late-night spot than hanging behind to dismantle the stale conventions of the often white male-dominated underground scene they cut their teeth in.

On Diaspora Problems, Soul Glo have caused a clearing in the forest with an album so boundless in its creativity that it cannot be ignored. This is the shape of hardcore that we had been promised. This is by no means their first album, but rather their third full-length, with a slew of EPs and singles behind them.

But each song on the album’s tracklist seems intentionally placed to service the whole, like Jenga pieces stacked with a graceful gentle touch.

Album Cover Artwork

Soul Glo &Quot;Diaspora Problems&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, October 4, 2022
Album Cover Artwork For Soul Glo’S “Diaspora Problems”.

An iconic cover artwork featuring collectable items and personal effects of a person sharing the same space. But taking a closer, you’d notice that there is no regular kind of space. Instead, it’s like a tray or a collector of some sort that was fastened to the wall containing two large candles, a photograph and a doll; all the things that easily give it away as an altar.

So, keeping in mind the album title, one could interpret this to be the artist laying her problems, or rather, the items representing her troubles and Diaspora Problems.

Tracks and Features

As every great album should, the album begins with the sounds of a bong hit mimicking the wind-up drumbeat of the 20th Century Fox theme song. From there on, the album is a long exhale of thick smoke that can leave you dizzy and delirious when inhaled secondhand.

The first song, “Gold Chain Punk (Whogonnabeatmyass)”, gives you a taste of the undeniable force of what’s to come. Singer Pierce Jordan shrieks and screams his vocals at the velocity of tumbling stones as the band—(now-former) guitarist Ruben Polo, bassist GG Guerra and drummer TJ Stevenson—constantly realigns itself with different time signatures and pummeling riffs.

Midway through the record, Soul Glo offers a welcome change of pace with the industrial rap of “Driponomics,” featuring a verse from Philly rapper Mother Maryrose. Then on the metalcore-influenced “John J,” Jordan passes the mic to Kathryn Edwards of the great Nashville hardcore band Thirdface and a verse from lyricist Zula Wildheart for one of the album’s most towering moments.

With blistering tracks like the horn-assisted “Thumbsucker” and the unstoppable single “Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!!)(by the future),” the swing found on post-hardcore from the early days of Touch & Go and Dischord records, and classic New York hardcore aggression are jumbled to perfection.

After the hellbent pace of “GODBLESSYALLREALGOOD,” the album closes with “Spiritual Level of Gang Shit.” The song features verses from McKinley Dixon and lojii, and—along with everything heard before—it provides evidence that there are more exciting ways that both hardcore and hip-hop could live in harmony.

Tracks

NO Title Time
1 Gold Chain Punk (whogonbeatmyass?) 3:47
2 Coming Correct Is Cheaper 3:04
3 Thumbsucker 2:01
4 Fucked Up If True 3:11
5 Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!!)((by the future)) 3:26
6 Driponomics (feat. Mother Maryrose) 2:49
7 (Five Years And) My Family 2:50
8 The Thangs I Carry (feat. BEARCAT) 3:16
9 We Wants Revenge 2:23
10 John J (feat. Kathryn Edwards & Zula Wildheart) 4:30
11 GODBLESSYALLREALGOOD 3:00
12 Spiritual Level Of Gang Shit (feat. McKinley Dixon & lojii) 4:53

Album Theme

Diaspora Problems carries a profound and passionate tone throughout, as Soul Glo pours their thoughts and observations — some political, others deeply personal.

Production Credits

GG handled the album’s production, and engineering, with Evan Bernard assisting. While Will Yip took care of mixing and mastering.

Stream

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