New Music: Special Solace EP ‘Single Years’

Cedric Noel left Fredericton for Montreal in October. We didn’t treat him right, we didn’t show him how much we needed him and now four months later he’s still trying to move on. And even though we don’t deserve him, he’s bleeding his heart out for us. He’s just sent us a love letter in the form of a Valentine’s Day EP. ‘Single Years’ is being released under the moniker Special Solace, and it’s going to have you yearning.

Lucky for us, Noel hasn’t let that flame go out. Instead he’s whipped up a buttery smooth mix of tunes that’s like the lovechild of Barry White and Jens Lekman. There’s no way around things getting a bit tense as he questions why things had to change between us, especially since we know we’ve got no good reason. This is no break-up album, this is a get-back-together album, and guaranteed baby making music.

Sure, maybe after three minutes into the first track it veers slightly into some eerie territory, but let’s be honest – if you were to meet up with Patrick Swayze at the Clay Café you’d still call it a magical evening. ‘I Know, I Know!’ edges back from the otherworldly and into the sublime, ‘Don’t Take It’ asks us “Please don’t let my love just go away,” reminding us that love is to be both treasured and consensual. We’re treated to a whirlwind of emotions as Noel hashes out the full of our failed relationships. All of it’s ups and downs, who said what, who started that fight last Christmas, and for the last time I don’t have a drinking problem…

By the time we’ve reached track four we’re ready for his ministrations. Everything is forgiven as he serenades us through ‘Is One?’ Finally, with ‘Single Years’, we’ve all lapsed back into accepting our incompatibility, and once again moved on like ships in the night.

Noel claims he never intended to teases us. He wasn’t here to break our hearts all over again, but things are just complicated right now. For a moment, at least, it just felt right.

“It sort of all fell in place,” says Noel. “I recorded these songs in November, 2015. Then my computer crashed and so I had to wait for the right time to recover things and mix it all again. And then I started writing some for real R&B songs last Summer/Fall and wanted to have a name for it – thus came Special Solace. It just so happens that my first show under that name is a day after Valentine’s Day so it all felt pretty apt to release it then.”

In the end, Noel tells us it’s not us, it’s him. If he’s a little out of sync with us, we just need to appreciate the moment this album gives us. Sometimes all we ever have is a short while together, but it is better to have loved and lost, than to have not heard this album. “[It’s] like lacking to emotional capacity or tools to engage with that part of the world or a person. I find the way people talk about being single very interesting and it’s something I felt like writing about. I think I did okay.”

Noel will be performing in Fredericton with his band LAPS during Flourish Festival in late April. Hopefully you’ll have time to recover from your heartache before then, but in the meantime appreciate that Special Solace’s ‘Single Years’ could very well mean that for Valentine’s Day you might not have to go home alone.