23 May 2022

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Solo Ono - EP Review: Lavender

06 Dec 2021 // A review by Steve Shyu
Poneke/Wellington three-piece garage rock act Solo Ono recently unveiled their newest effort, the EP Lavender. Recorded in Newtown, Wellington by Warwick Donald, mastered by Mike Gibson, and boasting a dazzling cover art by Tristam Sparks, the collection of tunes is set out to be the group’s best effort yet.

For those not yet familiar with Solo Ono, what becomes evident from the first note is that this is garage rock. Straight-up, nothing pretentious. From the outset, the EP greets one with a brisk, popping drum rhythm with a cheeky, sly bassline laid on top. “What’s the worst that could happen? What’s the BEST! That could happen?”, asks frontman Frank Eggleton, as though to encourage even the most stubborn of listeners to pay attention and dip their toes in their music.

The opening song Rattlesnake is very smartly broken up with a couple of mildly psychedelic passages, with reverberating guitar strums and echoing vocals, adding some flavoursome dynamics to the tune. Just past half-way, the listener is treated to a playful and plodding guitar solo, as the song picks up tempo again to return to the striding rhythms of the start.

As a person who is, at times, overly conscious of what is socially tolerable and what oughtn’t be allowed in modern society, the second track Domesticated seems to hit a chord with me. The band described the track’s lyrics to be about “how we say nothing in the moments we should,” and personally, I relish discussions around these kinds of topics. Alas, without delving too deeply or speculating too much as to which issues the singer is addressing, the rhymes “I could be triggered now, and have it escalated, but I just raise my brow, ‘cause I’m domesticated” have echoed in my head for days since I first heard them!

Indeed, it’s true that we might find ourselves in moments where, should we speak up, we may land ourselves in hotter waters, and thus, we simply let things slide. Plenty to think of here, and that makes this song a nice, shiny stand-out.

It would be hard to not categorise this EP of songs as “fun”. The third tune Somehow has some highly entertaining “na na na na” singalong slips to the choruses, and it doesn’t take much of one’s imagination to hear this performed in a live venue. As a fellow guitar player, one is urged give credit to the band’s choice of bass and guitar tones. The guitars’ howling, grunge-inspired fuzz and the bass’s daringly solid feel complement each other well, and adds a punk edge to the song.

The EP rounds things up with the fourth track Toxic Man, which, according to Solo Ono, is about toxic men, unsurprisingly. However, not much more into the theme of toxic masculinity is explored beyond the words “Let it go! You’re just a toxic man. When you understand, it’s all in your head!” With a run-time of no more than two minutes, credit could be given for their sharpened wit and keeping things succinct!

Well, the EP Lavender is brilliant as a whole. There is plenty to love, plenty to dance to, and plenty to sing along to. If you’re after anything ground-breaking, then keep moving. This is a band that’s not out to create anything too adventurous, because, when you’ve nailed a particular recipe, why change the formula!

Check out Solo Ono's album on Bandcamp, Spotify, and follow them on Facebook!

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Solo Ono

Solo Ono are a Poneke/Newtown trio (Frank Eggleton, Birgit Bachler and Jordan Stewart) that shares members with bands such as TidalRave, Once You Know and Lazerpuss. They play garage rock influenced by the dreams of the 80's and 90's indie bands and the bland cynicism of 00's garage.

The band has supported The Chills, She’s So Rad and played at last year’s Newtown Band Crawl.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Solo Ono


Year: 2021
Type: EP
Now We Know Who To Blame
Year: 2020
Type: EP
Rogue Planet
Year: 2018
Type: EP
Solo Ono
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Space Monster
Year: 2011
Type: EP

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