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  • Writer's pictureFabioIMPoppi

"Diaspora Problems"

Soul Glo’s emergence in the hardcore scene is both a celebration and a sobering critique of American society. Founded in 2014 in Philadelphia, the band boldly confronts issues like tokenism, systemic healthcare deficiencies, generational trauma, the failures of the criminal justice system, economic inequality, and the empty promises of upward mobility and higher education. Their 2020 release, "Songs to Yeet at the Sun," marked a significant breakthrough, but it was "Diaspora Problems" that solidified their impact.

Released nearly two years later, "Diaspora Problems" is a raw and powerful statement of the band's frustrations and determination to seize control. Pierce Jordan’s lyrics, which blend radical rhetoric, absurd humor, and vulnerability, convey a profound sense of anger and urgency. Songs like “Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!!) ((By the Future))” highlight the precariousness of Black artists' success in a system ready to discard them. The album features a rich mix of styles, including horn sections and samples, with contributions from several guest rappers and vocalists, and Will Yip handling mixing and mastering.

The album opens with "Gold Chain Punk," immediately capturing the listener's attention with explosive energy. This track ventures into rap-punk with confidence, showcasing a drunken, chaotic vibe. Jordan's vocals deliver a relentless barrage, addressing personal and collective Black experiences with anarchic fervor. "John J" continues this theme, described as vomiting with rage, offering a fiery analysis of sociopolitical phenomena and Jordan’s own mental health struggles.

"Diaspora Problems" also critiques capitalism and exploitation. In "Driponomics," featuring Mother Maryrose, Jordan critiques the capitalist obsession with luxury streetwear as a survival mechanism. The track, paired with a striking music video, underscores the band’s ability to tackle serious subjects with a blend of irony and gravity. Tracks like "Thumbsucker," loyal to classic mosh-pit punk-rock in the tradition of the Germs, and "The Thangs I Carry," with its near grindcore frenzy, amplify the band's sheer uncontrolled fury.

The album’s second half maintains its intensity, with tracks like "(Five Years And) My Family" and "GODBLESSYALLREALGOOD" offering a raw look at Jordan’s personal struggles and societal critiques. "Coming Correct Is Cheaper" erupts with an unbridled storm of foaming insults and twisted psychic gestures, while "Fucked Up If True" delivers a breathless bombardment of machine-gun guitars. The bulldozer rhythm and thrash-metal riffs of "Jump" provide a chaotic yet exhilarating experience, and "We Wants Revenge" closes with an insanely anthemic hyper-rockabilly feel, maintaining the album's ferocity.

Despite the tumultuous backdrop, including the departure of guitarist Ruben Polo amid abuse allegations, "Diaspora Problems" stands as a testament to Soul Glo’s resilience and creativity. The album’s polished sound allows for a greater appreciation of Polo's guitar work, GG Guerra's bass, and TJ Stevenson's drumming, while Jordan’s vocals remain piercing and potent. The polished production amplifies the band’s fury, making tracks like "Thumbsucker" and "The Thangs I Carry" even more impactful.

The album closes with "Spiritual Level Of Gang Shit," a surprising track that mixes dub influences with hardcore elements, showcasing the band’s versatility and willingness to push boundaries. Though it’s slower and less successful compared to other tracks, it remains an essential part of the album's narrative.

"Diaspora Problems" is not just an album; it’s a call to action and a reflection of the ongoing struggles within American society. Soul Glo's music forces listeners to confront uncomfortable truths while delivering a relentless auditory experience. Their work is a vital addition to the hardcore genre, representing the voices and experiences of those often marginalized and overlooked.

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