The Soft Pack – The Soft Pack (Kemado Records)

San Diego foursome The Soft Pack have been the subject of press hype for some time now, with NME articles dating back over a year prior to this debut release, when they were still known as The Muslims – a name they were wise to drop. So, the obvious question is, do they deserve the hype? The answer is rather tricky, I’m afraid. The album is an attack of taught rhythms, concise high-energy songs, and brash singing. They’ve written ten very good songs, and it’s hard to find anything to dislike in its’ half-hour of music. I especially like how singer Matt Lamkin works a few Ian MacKaye moves into his vocals, and the band goes for a Dischord-style sound on “Pull Out” (perhaps the work of producer, and DC-scene alumnus Eli Janney). The only problem is that, for the most part, they stick too closely to the Strokes template to make an impact. Several of the songs (especially “Answer To Yourself”, “C’mon” and “More or Less”) could be passed off as holdovers from the sessions for Is This It, if slightly more aggressive. If this was 2001-2003, when there was a ravenous demand for anything remotely Strokes-related, the album would be a surefire success; but it’s a little out of step with the times. They may not be huge, but their music is fun, confident and probably better than anything their influences are putting out this year.

  • “C’Mon”
  • “Down On Loving “
  • “Answer To Yourself”
  • “Move Along”
  • “Pull Out”
  • “More Or Less “
  • “Tides Of Time”
  • “Flammable”
  • “Mexico”
  • “Parasites”