Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 11:20 a.m.
The Judgement: Riding a wave of sun-drenched guitar and anxious drum beats, the first half of the Soft Pack's self-titled full length is a sturdy replica of their preceding EP (released in January 2010). You'll notice that album opener "C'mon" and "Answer For Yourself" are carried over to the new collection of songs by this San Diego four-piece, once known as the Muslims. Approximately a year after dumping their old moniker, the band is now throwing some new twists into their garage rock aesthetic.
The album definitely reaches a turning point midway through-- starting with the track "More or Less"--swapping an indistinct squall of reverb for pop-centric guitar plucks and notable harmonizing that adds a little more depth to songs pregnant with cryptic tales of angst, escape and drowning youngsters (see "Tides of Time"). Don't worry though, the music itself is so infectious that all the dark lyricism hides well under a veil of sweaty, punk party chords.
"Mexico," one of the album's splashy standout tracks, happens to be their slowest. Reveling in a lazy, dirty snare beat and ambling bass line, singer Matt Lamkin mopes about the prospect of a loved one traveling south of the border:
How can we go on living in such a sty? / Remember when you came home and I was locked inside? / If it's Mexico, I wish you wouldn't go / I don't wanna know if you're leaving if you can't decide / I'm letting you go
He may not wanna travel to Chihuahua, but Lamkin and the band are more than willing to endure the heat at Coachella, where this song is sure to attract a multitude of swaying hipsters.
Download These: "Moving On," "More or Less," "Mexico"