Album Review

The Soft Pack

The Soft Pack

by The Soft Pack

Heavenly Recordings
6 / 10

Reviewed by Gareth Meade

Let’s forget The Soft Pack’s apparent appropriations of other bands for a second and focus instead on what this band does well. In regards to the style of music they play; mostly blurry guitars, energetic drums and deadpan vocals; they have the formula nailed. They’re not the best band to attempt this approach and nor are they particularly original, but they go at it with such gusto that the appeal isn’t entirely unclear. They may even prove to be as important, to a certain generation of kids, as The Strokes did to an earlier generation of kids, simply for being a conduit to all the great music that they are influenced by.

After all, The Soft Pack are a band who proudly wear their inspirations on their sleeve and it just so happens that those inspirations come from a very narrow timeframe and genre. Their debut self-titled album certainly doesn’t push for anything revelatory, much like their earlier EP was a collection of songs that sounded like myriad others you’d heard before. In some ways their album is a bit easier to swallow, the production is better and the band sound tighter, literally stampeding through the opening tracks with appropriate abandon.

There is lots of jamming and improvised solos, generously speaking, and also a few organ freakouts, which when employed well, like on ‘Move Along’, do a great job of adding necessary variation to the material. But to be honest there isn’t a whole lot that varies throughout the album and it becomes grating by the end. ‘Mexico’ is probably the best example of the band stretching itself, with vague indications of surf rock and all encompassing reverb that would make The Walkmen proud. ‘Parasites’ does its best ‘Sister Ray’ impression, albeit at a much quicker pace, but is similarly overlong.

Asides from that, it’s difficult to find moments of note. If you’ve heard anything by this band before (and I mean anything), then you know what and who they sound like, whether or not you like them and whether or not you want to hear more. All I’m hoping is that they fulfil their promise of introducing you to bands that are a whole lot better.

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