Observations: Still Solid, even without a crew

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The Independent Culture

It is the return of So Solid Crew, but not as we know them. In the early Noughties, the pirate-radio stars gave their scene mainstream profile and opprobrium in equal measure. Set for release this month, the soulful "Since You Went Away" is less in-yer-face than the dancefloor bangers "21 Seconds" and "They Don't Know", a low-key return for a crew that once spread fear through middle England.

Rebranded as So Solid, they have downsized the group that could once count more than 30 members. The single features a threesome made up of the founder Megaman, the singer Lisa Maffia and MC Romeo. All three have faced turmoil since their group's heyday – Maffia's career stuttered following a murder at a club she was due to play, Romeo was acquitted of attacking a clubber with a knife and Megaman was acquitted of murder while an associate was convicted.

"We made certain mistakes the first time around, but then, doesn't everyone?" he says. "Doesn't mean we'll make the same mistakes again. We already feel we've proved everything we ever needed to, but now what we're about is proving to ourselves just how far we can take this." A forthcoming album brings in Oxide as well as Asher D – nowadays better known as the actor Ashley Walters.

There's no place, though, for Oxide's collaborator Neutrino, last seen playing rugby union with London Cornish. Also missing is the ladies' man Harvey, though his forthcoming appearance in the gangster film The Big I Am may restore his profile.

'Since You Went Away' is out 11 January on Mega & Co