One to watch: Solar Corona | Pop and rock

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Nine years into their career, a lineup change has transformed Portuguese space-rockers Solar Corona. With saxophonist Julius Gabriel making way for synth player/dub impresario Nuno Loureiro, much of the sprawl that characterised the two albums they released in 2019 (including the completely improvised Saint-Jean-de-Luz) has receded. As bassist José Roberto Gomes, who also works for Lovers & Lollypops, one of Portugal’s biggest indie labels, says: “The songs this time are more simple, as we tried to preserve the focus on the original motif of each song. And yet they are also more expansive.”

Originally from the northern city of Barcelos, where they were loosely affiliated with the stoner-rock scene that coalesced around the seaside SonicBlast festival, the four-piece – the lineup is completed by Rodrigo Carvalho (guitar/synth) and drummer Peter Carvalho (no relation) – are now based in nearby Porto.

The first results of the retooled lineup can be found on excellent new album Pace, where elements of metal, Krautrock and post-rock are blended into more focused, more succinct songs. For all the tight, intermeshing musicianship there’s a wildness and unpredictability there too, most notably on Thrust and standout closer Alpendurada. “We, of course, want people to feel impetuous while listening to it,” Gomes says.

Pace is out now on Lovers & Lollypops. Solar Corona will play UK dates in spring 2023



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