Tag Archives: The Soft Pack

The Soft Pack ‘Strapped’

29 Aug

Remember The Soft Pack? They released an excellent garage rock record a few years back and then seemingly disappeared into the fog. Well now they’re back from wherever they went, with a new album out on October 1st. Below is the track listing plus a couple of songs from it that are already floating about on the web.

1. Saratoga
2. Second Look
3. They Say
4. Tallboy
5. Bobby Brown
6. Chinatown
7. Ray’s Mistake
8. Oxford Ave.
9. Everything I Know
10. Head On Ice
11. Bound To Fall
12. Captain Ace

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The Soft Pack ‘The Soft Pack’ – Review

6 Feb

The Muslims? They were so 2008.

The Soft Pack? They were so 2009.

Such is the reaction you will get if you ask any number of ‘hip’ music journalists about The Soft Pack (or The Muslims as they used to be known). NME tipped this band at the tail end of 2008 and were lining them up to be the next big thing (an honour that has since been passed onto The Drums). 2009 SHOULD have been their year. They SHOULD have released the brilliant ‘Bright Side’, ‘Extinction’ and ‘Besides myself’ properly instead of shunning them from their debut album that has arrived 12 months to late! Why oh why did they not capitalize on all the interest?

None of this would matter of course if this debut album was amazing. It wouldn’t matter that they used up all their best songs on an e.p if they came up with 10 even better songs for the album. But ‘The Soft Pack’ is not a great album; It’s good but not great.

The first five songs pack an almighty punch, in fact the first side zooms past in under 15 minutes. ‘C’mon’ is the track that comes closest to matching the brilliance of their early singles, with its lightning fast singing and Strokesy guitars. ‘Down on Loving’ and ‘Answer to yourself’ are nearly as good, both taking a slightly more mellow but still frantic approach. ‘Move Along’ differs only in that it introduces an organ and ‘Pull Out’ has a ferocity that gives it a slight edge.

The album’s second half is a lot more hit and miss. ‘More or Less’ is pretty good, ‘Tides of time’ is more interesting lyrically but musically sounds a bit stale, and flammable is pure filler. ‘Mexico’ is arguably the album’s stand out track as it’s the only one that displays any kind of sophistication or experimentation. That’s not to put down the other songs – this band clearly know what they want and I respect that- but ‘Mexico’ just sounds a lot more complex than anything else here. As a throwback to the early stuff ‘Parasites’ closes the album in Ramonic style and perhaps gives an indication of what this album could have been. The song is much more raw than anything else on here, and it’s also a lot more exciting than the majority of the record.

You can’t really knock The Soft Pack at what they do because they are clearly dedicated and intelligent about it. These songs are simple and frantic for a reason, a few years ago during the garage rock revival they would have been selling loads. As an album this is cohesive and well thought out, it just needs a few more killer songs – songs we know the band have in their possession. This is a frustrating listen because you feel that the band have stunted their own potential. Had they included ‘Bright Side’ and ‘Extinction’ and maybe another song like ‘Mexico’ then this could have been a far superior album to the one it is. Nonetheless ‘The Soft Pack’ is a fine debut and they remain a band with a bright future.

7.5/10

Albums to look forward to in 2010!

28 Nov

1. TBA – Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was working with the likes of Will I Am and Akon right before his death but the album had been in the works for many years before that. It was planned to be released ages ago but Jackson kept pushing it back, but now we may fnaly get to hear it in 2010. This is the most anticipated album of next year because everybody is interested to see what Jackson was up to in his final years of productivity and how he would sound in the 21st century, working with some of the coolest names around. Who knows in what form we will hear material, we just want to hear it as he would have wanted.

2. TBA – The Strokes

We have been waiting for the next Strokes album for so long there is an almost certainty that it won’t live up to expectations. That said, ‘Phrazes For The Young’ was unexpectedly good and hopefully the next Strokes album (If it comes next year) can be even better. The chances of them pulling of another Is This It, or even ‘Room On Fire’ may be slim but most people would be happy with something more thought out than ‘First Impressions of Earth’ which wasn’t as bad as some people remember but hardly set the world on fire.

3. TBA – The Drums

Easily the most anticipated debut of next year, The Drums ‘mini LP’ released a few months ago was a breath of fresh air and hopefully the album will build on that. It’s not been said whether fan favourites such as ‘Lets Go Surfin’ will appear on the record but new songs including ‘Forever and ever amen’ almost certainly will.

4. Astro Coast – Surfer Blood

A great new band who combine surf punk and weezer-esque anthems, this album is out in January and is already getting a lot of buzz. Set to include the awesome ‘Swim to Reach The End’.

5. TBA – LCD Soundsystem

The follow-up to the best dance album of the noughties can’t be as good as ‘Sound of Silver, can it? The cynic in me says no way but if anyone can do it then LCD Soundsystem can.

6. Congratulations – MGMT

They have previewed a few tracks from congratulations and they all sound like classic MGMT. The album may be a double, with one disc dedicated to pop and the other psychedelia, or that may have been a massive joke. Either way this is going to be a big, crazy event.

7. Contra – Vampire Weekend

Cousins didn’t really live up to my expectations, it sounded too similar to what I have heard from VW before. Hopefully this isn’t too representative of the album because it would be a shame if ‘Contra’ is just a retread for the band. I really look forward to finding out.

8. TBA – British Sea Power

‘Do You Like Rock Music’ was so much better than I could have hoped, and it’s true follow up is due next year. No hint yet on which direction the band are going in but I doubt we will see much of a departure from the art rockers.

9.  The Soft Pack – The Soft Pack

At the beginning of the year The Soft Pack seemed to be the most exciting band in indie. At the end of the year they still haven’t released their debut and bands like Girls and The Drums have stolen their thunder. But finally The Soft Pack will be releasing their LP in January and I can’t wait.

10. TBA – Arctic Monkeys

‘Humbug’ split fans down the middle but it seems that their next album will see Arctic Monkeys repeating it’s hard rock and long hair formula. They say they want to record it fast and keep it heavy so it’s perfectly possible that we will get to hear the album late next year.

11. Odd Blood – Yeasayer

Yeasayer are one of the most innovative bands of recent memory, their sound is a combination of vocal harmonies, world music, tribal chants and electronica. ‘Ambling Alp’ was the first taste from album number 2 and if the rest of the record is as good then ‘Odd Blood’ should be one to look out for in 2010.

12. Gershwin/Disney projects – Brian Wilson

The Beach Boys genius has got two projects lined up for 2010. He will be reworking the music of Gershwin in the traditional Brian Wilson style and then he will be having a go at the Disney classics. Both albums will be released on the Disney label next year and whilst they could be disasters, if anyone can pull it off then Brian Wilson can.

Reading and Leeds

9 Jun

There have been yet more additions to this year’s Reading and Leeds festival. The Festival Republic stage has been announced and there are some great bands playing. Headlining are La Roux, The Blackout and Marmaduke Duke. I’m particularly thrilled with Bear Hands, The Soft Pack, Golden Silvers and Lightspeed Champion and I’m sure there are other bands to be discovered before August.

The View and The Living End have been added to the Radiohead day on main stage (with two or three more still to be announced) and still no word on Faith No More who are rumoured to be headlining the NME/Radio 1 stage above Jamie T. Below is a complete rundown of the new additions.

Soulsavers with Mark Lanegan, Black Lips, Bring Me The Horizon, Atreyu, Lightspeed Champion, The Rumblestrips, The Big Pink, Broken Records, Bombay Bicycle Club, Marina And The Diamonds, Skint And Demoralised, The Temper Trap, The Soft Pack, Hockey, Bear Hands, Amazing Baby, A Place To Bury Strangers, A Day To Remember, Fight Like Apes, Titus Andronicus, Middle Class Rut, Single File, Jack’s Mannequin, Pulled Apart By Horses, Grammatics, The Chapman Family, Detroit Social Club, Golden Silvers, Baddies, Go Audio, The Joy Formidable, Magistrates, The Hot Rats, Mariachi El Bronx, The View and The Living End.

They join an already excelent line up led by Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, The Prodigy and Kings Of Leon. For the complete line-up visit Readingfestival.com or Leedsfestival.com and look for the famous yellow poster.

The Alternative stage, Dance tent and BBC introducing are still to be reveled and I would be surprised if we didn’t see a couple more for the Main Stage, NME tent and FR stage. Time will tell…