After first listen to The Soft Pack’s full-length debut, I had to double-check the release date. While they are a little late for the last garage rock movement with the likes of The Strokes and The Hives and are very late to be a part of 1960s surf-rock scene, they give a big ol’ tip of the hat to both genre go-rounds on their new self-titled album. And yet, the fact that they aren’t doing something current, and they aren’t doing something original, makes them kinda surprising and stand out in the midst of a music scene lacking loners. They aren’t trying too hard or over thinking or vocoding; they are just making some rad tunes.
The simple, but potent tunes are a familiar style and you instantly feel their groove. Though it could be considered retro or throwback, The Soft Pack are able to retain a good amount of excitement and energy that throws a whole new shine on the classic sound. Opening with a two-minute blast, “C’mon” is a head bopping, fast-riffed tune with a sarcastic touch. They don’t let the pace slip for most of album, keeping swiftness that is consistent and rocking.
At moments such as on “Flammable” they take their garage rock to nearly a punk pace with a repeated wails of “It’s kinda flammable in this place.” But, The Soft Pack doesn’t overkill the up-tempo. With the second to last track, “Mexico” they take it down and drive ya home with a swaying disjointed slow jam filled with steel guitars and simplistic drumming.
The band recently switched to the moniker The Soft Pack after criticism of their previous name, The Muslims. Though only in name do you hear any unsteady resolve. The band sounds like they are doing their own thing and doesn’t care if you like it or not. Lucky for us, what they are doing is very likeable.
Words: Lori Bartlett