Monday, December 17, 2012

Pitstop: SoftSpot

A few months ago there was a week where Caleb from Lands & Peoples more or less had full control over what I posted on the blog. It wasn't a blog takeover or anything like that he just kept suggesting bands to me that he thought I'd be really into and he happened to be right. Brooklyn psych-rock trio SoftSpot was actually one of the first bands Caleb suggested to me. Earlier during the year Lands & Peoples played a house show with SoftSpot and when I saw Caleb the next day he had nothing but good things to say about them. 

When I finally pounced upon the recommendation and listened to the Nous EP I couldn't help but notice a definite similarity between SoftSpot and Secret Mountains. Laid back, slow burning jams wrapped up in psychedelic fuzz? The bands seemed almost too similar for me to compare. How could I describe a band as being almost exactly like another band while urging you to listen to both bands? The answer: Don't. I'm glad SoftSpot's debut full length Enso was exfm's album of the week last week as it allowed me to see the band in a whole new light. While Soft Spot shares Secret Mountains patient gently unfolding delivery, there's far more to them than that. Sarah Kinlaw's vocals are much more in line with BRAIDS' Raphaelle's Standell-Preston and her quiet coquette-ish coo than Kelly Laughlin's mighty roar. 

But SoftSpot are a band of their own design not just a composite of other arty bands you know and love. Their songs are insistent and ear-catching even despite their occasionally labyrinthine construction. In fact, a lot of their songs, especially on Enso, function as extensions of each other sliding effortlessly into the other. SoftSpot's songs feature reoccurring sonic themes and structures that fall anywhere from a repeated inflection to a continuous winding guitar riff. Ultimately Enso as well as all of SoftSpot's releases are intensely interesting listening experiences where the longer tracks capture and maintain your attention and the shorter ones make you crave for more.  They're a balance of dark, mysterious brooding jams with a rather underplayed pop sensibility deployed stealthily to keep the track aloft and coasting on its occasionally meandering path. 

Listen to SoftSpot's excellent debut record Enso now.

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