The Soft Pack

Resplendent in their new moniker (The Muslims proving to be more hindrance than help), San Diego's The Soft Pack pull into town, their breezy take on indie rock a welcome boost in chillier times.

'C'mon' and 'Down on Loving' play up previous comparisons to The Strokes, with vocalist Matt Lambkin doing a fair impression of a more mop-topped Julian Casablancas, although from this point on the album takes a slightly different paddle up the garage rock river, bringing to mind the kind of High School band every kid in America seemed to form after seeing The Kinks on Hootenanny. At other times, thoughts of mid/late 70s Antipodeans like Radio Birdman and The Saints may come to mind. Indeed 'Tides of Time' could be from Eternally Yours and, try as I might, I can't think of a higher compliment.

This is not the strand of tough, gnarly garage rock purists may prefer as there's a bubblegum/surf undercurrent that seems to play pretty well at the moment (see also The Drums, Surfer Blood) but that doesn't stop a genuine sense of urgency and agitation from surfacing, as on the teen drama of 'Answer To Yourself' - "I think I'm gonna die / Before I see my time."

Smarter than first impressions may suggest, they even have the insight to drop in an end-of-the-night smoocher in 'Mexico' before the inevitable last track freakout. I'm only sad TMF Towers doesn't have a proper backyard: The Soft Pack would be the icing on a totally killer keg party.



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