8/10 Clinton Staff review, 28 September 2012
The Soft Pack were called The Muslims before they had to change their name for one reason or another. Whatever moniker they have traded under, they have always been a force to be reckoned with and the opening track here ‘Saratoga’ exemplifies everything that is great about them. It blasts in, an unstoppable rambunctious juggernaut of a power pop tune recalling prime movers such as (early) My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr and Apples in Stereo. Brilliant.
‘Second Look’ employs the lesser spotted Byrdsian guitar jangle once slathered all over records by youthful 60’s pretenders but rarely used these days. It also sounds a lot like a hyped up Real Estate. ‘Tallboy’ again is full of bouncy melodic pop, this time with lashings of organ and a lovely early fade. It sits in the almost exact point between REM and The Undertones. Therefore the electro funk of ‘Bobby Brown’ comes as a bit of a suprise, its not unlike some of the pop/funk experiments.The dB’s carried out on their mid-career albums, not bad but it sits ill at ease with the high energy college rock of the rest of the album. What we seem to have here is a band stretching out from their scratchy beginnings, bringing into their sound a lot of their influences (a LOT of ‘80s ones) but they are expert at what they do and will appeal to fans of modern day movers such as Fresh & Onlys as much as lost ‘80s guitar slingers such as Del Fuegos. Highly recommended.
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