A Lost Indie-Rock Introvert, Heard at Last

Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "Love to Hate"
  • Artist: Alex Soria
  • CD: Next of Kin
  • Genre: Rock
The Nils' Alex Soria, seen here early in his career, died in 2004 at age 39.

The Nils' Alex Soria, seen here early in his career, died in 2004 at age 39. hide caption

itoggle caption

When Alex Soria died in December 2004, the Montreal musician left behind a legacy of superb songwriting eclipsed by poor production. Hailed in the 1980s as Canada's answer to Paul Westerberg, Soria performed with his post-punk band The Nils, which drew comparisons to Husker Du and The Replacements. While The Nils' songs were influential enough to make it the first Canadian band to hit Rolling Stone's college chart, the group's records were awash in fuzzy guitar and drum arrangements, rendering an introverted Soria's vocals — and thus his moving lyrics — barely audible.

Fortunately, previously unreleased acoustic and live tracks have surfaced (albeit in limited release) on Next of Kin. "Love to Hate" features crisp acoustic guitars that ring as though freshly strung in a rolling strum pattern that's more evocative of Wilco than Bob Mould. Soria's words are clear, even as he whispers into the mic. The tranquility of the instrumentals is countered by troubled lyrics that bounce between juvenile rebellion ("I'm gonna wear the same frock twice / I'm gonna stay up past midnight") and a tribute to an emotionally destructive relationship ("It's you, my love, I hate"). The song packages anger and frustration in a shiny new box with a scratch on the bottom. Posthumous albums can be tricky to assemble, but this one adds merit to Alex Soria's musicianship and memory.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.