The Soft Pack “The Soft Pack”

Kemado Records

There has been a garage rock revival going on for the past couple years, so naturally, there are countless bands these days that think all they need to be a band is four crappy instruments, ten crappy songs and a crappily recorded album. Unfortunately, they are kind of right—there are people out there who will buy anything or, even worse, like anything. The fortunate side of this deal is there are bands out there like The Soft Pack who understand the garage mentality, but also comprehend the importance of somehow channeling that attitude into a great sounding record that utilizes its raw elements to the best of its abilities, and holds up to repeated listens.

Originally from San Diego, The Soft Pack were once called The Muslims, who released one full length and one EP. The full length is pretty indicative of modern day, run-of-the-mill garage rock. That grimy attitude was there, but the understanding of making it all a coherent whole was not. It’s quite a different story for The Soft Pack’s self-titled debut, however—it has the same ten-songs-in-thirty-minutes set-up, but the consistency of the tunes and their spot-on, roomy production pushes the album into the territory of purely addictive.

The album cover describes “The Soft Pack” to a T—it features the band, standing in the middle of a blue-sky desert, engaged in some sort of greeting or handshake. Or, maybe one guy is handing something to the other guy. Either way, it’s a portrait of four guys playing music together, who obviously have great chemistry as a band. Drummer Brian Hill does an amazing job of anchoring the jangly guitar chaos of Matt Lamkin (who also provides vocals) and Matty McLoughlin—which sounds like the combination of some great lost 70’s sound and something totally original—and David Lantzman’s bass lines add a fat melodic dollop to it all. The songs are fairly simple and are sung with a sort of indifference (Kurt Cobain, anyone?), but they have hooks that truly do hook into whatever part of your psyche that gets songs stuck in your head.

One of the best tracks is “Pull Out”, which sings like a war protest song, but lyrically sounds more like a call for California to secede from the union. Maybe it’s a bit of both. Either way, it’s a great example of what the album has in store—garage rock anthems boasting loose and bright guitars, driving bass lines and rhythms, and get-up-and-go mentality. A lot of the songs are calls for the listener (or perhaps the author) to do something (“C’mon”, “Answer to Yourself”, “Move Along”, “Pull Out”), while most of the others (“Flammable”, “Parasites”) were obviously written to incite small riots. It’s that whole “Hey, life is passing us by, let’s DO something” mentality on which punk rock thrives, packaged into a great, concise little rock album, and it needs to be heard by anyone with adventurous blood.

With how much hype The Soft Pack have received since the release of this album, it is understandable why one might want to avoid them, or how a backlash could eventually ensue. However, this record has come at the perfect time. Spring is upon us, and with how solidly up-tempo the album is, not to mention how easy it is to sing along to almost every song, this could totally be the album kids listen to with their friends after school while getting high in the abandoned tree house out back. ****

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3 Responses to “The Soft Pack “The Soft Pack””

  1. Axio Hybrid Softpack Backpack for 15IN Laptop « Review Today Says:

    […] The Soft Pack “The Soft Pack” « Record Geek Heaven […]

  2. Hunter Says:

    Um “the album cover describes “The Soft Pack” to a T—it features the band, standing in the middle of a blue-sky desert”

    Doesn’t the life guard stand and SUV in the background, let along the darker wet sand, indicate low tide at a beach, rather than a desert?

    So change “blue sky desert” to “blue sky beach”? Does it still describe them?

    • recordgeekheaven Says:

      Wow, you’re totally right! I think “blue sky beach” still works to describe them, don’t you? Just add water!

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