Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: Power Up by Mixed Solution

If you read our last write up on Mixed Solution, you know the Raleigh-based rap/hip-hop group has been up to big things over the last three-plus years.  There are always questions with sophomore albums such as the band's latest, Power Up, out today on iTunes: will they change up their sound and risk isolating fans?  Provide more of the same and either bore existing fans or fail to capture new ones?  Luckily Mixed Solution aren't content to rest on their laurels and they continue to evolve their sound while staying true to their roots of tightly-written lyrics, intricate beats and music, and a whole lot of energy.

One (hyphenated) word to describe the aptly titled Power Up is high-octane.  From the opening track featuring fellow local act L!ve to single-ready "Walk to the Beat" and onto "Stankin Linkon," the album is an adrenaline-fueled sprint out of the gates.  The next three tracks, including standout "Sonrise," pull things back, allowing the listener a chance to breathe but in no way lessen the energy of the album.  "Colors" is conspicuous not only because of how different it is from the other tracks, more guitar- and vocal-driven, but also, frankly, for how weak it is, but that might say more about the strength of the rest of the album than about this particular track.

The first single "Power Up," which the band has made available as a free download, gets things back on track, and after a short interlude the final two songs keep the album going strong until the end.

Power Up is more than a suitable successor to the previous Let It Grow.  Few bands put as much heart, thought, and talent into their work, and it's obvious if you've ever seen one of the group's live shows.  It's impressive, though, to hear how much of that they're able to impart on their recorded work as well.  For a band this talented and this confident it's not a question of if they'll blow up, but when.


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