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The Soft Pack Single

4.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Feb. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Single
  • Label: Heavenly
  • ASIN: B002USUJCY
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,819 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

BBC Review

It might not hang around, the debut long-player from San Diego’s The Soft Pack, but it doesn’t need much time to leave a lasting impression. Ostensibly garage rock – carried by surf-savvy guitars, underpinned by echoes of psychedelia and boisterous of primal percussion – the constituent pieces don’t seem all that special. But the whole far surpasses the sum of its parts.

Formerly known as The Muslims, before the inevitable occurred and the quartet decided to do without their moniker-catalyst for “ignorant and racist” comments, The Soft Pack deliver a series of punchy, quite possibly perishable pop-rockers that might not last beyond this season’s fashions; indeed, this might be last year’s so-hot-right-now, given the months between 2009’s ear-pricking The Muslims and Extinction EPs and today. But, thankfully, one immediately gets the sense that this isn’t coattail-riding fare, that it doesn’t need the oxygen of scene-centric publicity to come alive. And, what with The Drums charting highly in the turn-of-the-year’s regular Ones to Watch furore, they may actually be better placed now for a crack at the mainstream than they’d have been with a debut before the new decade dawned.

Like the buzzy New Yorkers currently attracting blogosphere plaudits like sugary lips do wasps, The Soft Pack’s raucous material is consistently held tightly together by strong melodies, the four exhibiting a pop edge that could see them achieve wider recognition in the long run than select acts they conjure comparisons to: Black Lips, Hot Snakes, The Gun Club, The Modern Lovers. It’s got punk in its DNA, but the genes are all back-to-front; as soon as a number bristling with energy reaches its climax – the aptly titled Flammable – the album slips into a saunter of deliciously downplayed romanticism: Mexico is wonderful, a note-perfect tale of the necessity of letting a loved one go their own way.

Not that The Soft Pack can’t kick out those jams – so forceful are their boots that sometimes no amount of resistance can prevent a toe (at least) tapping vigorously, whatever the situation. Listen at work and don’t be surprised if your colleagues threaten to take a hammer to your knuckles, so frantic will you be desk-drumming to the likes of Move Along and Tides of Time.

Original it isn’t, but it trades innovation for let-loose fun, and wears its influences proudly. The Soft Pack are no chief architects, but they follow blueprints faultlessly. --Mike Diver

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Bought this on a whim and love it. My favorite album of the year so far. As another reviewer said you can hear the influence of different bands on every song but I quite like that. For me very like the good early Lemonheads stuff. Well worth a punt.
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Format: Audio CD
Perhaps calling your band the Muslims wasn't a wise starting point for any band hence the this post punk outfit from San Diego on the US West Coast have changed there name to Soft Pack and had some American music mags salivating over the prospect of this albums release. Drowned in Sound amazingly gave this magnum hopeless 8 out of 10 for an album that has as much backbone as a chocolate eclair.

Sadly this is only a 2 star since I boosted it by extending the milk of human kindness. Do not get me wrong there is always a place for a good, loud and thrashy melodic punk band but in this case you can almost recognize the riffs and melodies lifted from other bands. Similarly singer Matt Lamkin is the Rory Bremmer of rock since is vocal sometimes sounds so much like Jonathan Richman I was expecting him to break into Roadrunner at any point.

If you were to get out your Ramones albums, dust down the Buzzcocks and throw in the Wombats and the Fall then you have Soft Pack. Other bands of course do this including current faves the The Drums. But where the latter are infectious, invigorating and add nice new twists, Soft pack stick to formula with entirely predictable results. "Answer to yourself" is essentially the Wombats "Moving to New York" but is not as good. "Parasites" is the best song on the album but the royalties should be paid to the Velvets. "Flammable" sounds like the Fall except Mark E Smith is a genius and this lot are not. Finally do we really need another song with the title "C'mon"? This kind of tiresome college rock essentially proves that West is not best when it comes to new American bands with the really exciting and innovative music coming from the East coast(with a few exceptions). All in all an album that might have struggled to make the John Peel show 20 years ago. I have a soft spot for this band but sadly its the swamp at the bottom of my garden.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In just over half an hour you get a great album from a band who have found their feet. Fast paced indie rock, big hope for the future.
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Hype is a strange beast. No doubt it rises the profile, and in turn it piques interest in the music-appreciating community. Myspace hits rise, early singles receive play and small corners of the Internet duly coo. However, as the profile rises so does expectation. Such is the nature of hype.

At this critical juncture, it pays to have more than the one or two tracks that brought the hype beast sniffing. Without them, or a sufficiently interesting story to buy time, a band can start to flounder even before an album release is made. The Soft Pack initially plumped for the latter.

As it is near inescapable to discover, they used to be called The Muslims. Due to "ignorant and racist" comments a name change was made. As it turns out, as a name The Muslims, a much ballsier name let's face it, might have brought more hype through obvious controversiality. Either way, The Soft Pack, perhaps recognising their potential undoing by the machine, chose a different path.

Their college-cum-garage-rock is remarkably smooth when their contemporaries, particularly those from their native San Diego (see Christmas Island) and neighbouring cities, are all bathed in a sea of lo-fi production methods. Although Matt Lamkin's vocal in truth lacks punch or sufficient drawl, it bobs along happily in identifiable Jonathan Richman-country nevertheless.

The Soft Pack appear a balancing act, better than the never-rans (The Virgins), but not as good as Pavement and The Strokes whose middle ground they seem to frequently covet. This said, it's quite refreshing to also have REM's early college-rock unearthed afresh on the machine-gun delivery of "Down On Loving". The manic organ of the breathless "Move Along" further adds welcome kudos. The songcraft on offer is warmly familiar throughout.
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