Soft Gang by Soft Gang

Members of Phantom Family Halo, Dichroics and Sabers, plus Kaori Nakamura, have formed Soft Gang together. Their music on this self-titled record feels confident and relaxed, like there’s no question that they know exactly what they are doing. They play experimentally-tinged art-rock, and they play it damn well. Out on Sophomore Lounge.

Vinyl LP £19.99 SL077

LP on Sophomore Lounge.

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Soft Gang by Soft Gang
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8/10 Robin 03 August 2016

For those who like their psych rock as the overture for a cartoon villain, Soft Gang have got you: “Beautiful Human” opens up their new record with some sharp, fast notes that dovetail towards the ominous end of the good/evil character spectrum before moving to a slow, sorta machiavellian groove upended by the same rhythmic blurt. It’s fast, loose and coming to a Mr. Burns near you, though the band eventually show how much fun they’re having by pushing towards a fun, major key, call-and-response jig that switches form at will. Lovely.

A free psych band! That’s Soft Gang. Their songs are messy and high and full of parts of the room that no one cares to clean -- “100 Spirits” starts off with bells and badly-timed vocal rants before entering into a slow, steadfast march. It sounds like they’ve established a beat but don’t really care what happens around it. Fine: we’ll see how that goes for them. “Broken Telepathy” sees them make a basic fuzz pop song and then solo over all the bits that should hit big, as Kaori Nakamura spills out tiny vocal fragments for the hell of it. Even here, at the record’s most constrained, the sound spills out every which way.

These tunes feel like little vignettes of ideas stretched into improv. It’s obvious from the one minute “Baby”, which just focuses on a brief idea for lovely, sun-kissed guitar interplay, that they have lovely ideas in their head -- the longer the tracks get, the noisier, randomer and altogether more greatly fun things get. If I was a teacher I’d be like “they’re a nuisance to my class!!!” while secretly being very proud of them.


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