The Soft Pack

The Soft Pack

The Muslims was a terrible name for a band, a good band who otherwise may have been denied a fair crack of the whip just for their ill-themed moniker…

Date: February 27, 2010

Venue: Bodega Social

The Soft Pack’s formative career was put on hold due to “ignorant and disgusting racist” comments directed at their former name, The Muslims. That unfortunate period of the four-piece’s embryonic existence collected more press coverage than their music, which is a shame, because even as The Muslims, these San Diegan scuzz-rock hyperbole-garnering college geeks were making great noises.

Nowadays, with a new, less contentious name, they’ve honed their skills, rounded off the jagged edges and are becoming worthy of the hype that has come their way.

Except, there’s something not quite right with them; they look as miserable as sin as they prosaically go through the motions in their plaid shirts, looking like a smile would crack their faces, and muttering obtusely to a strong crowd rather than showering them with the same love and affection that’s afforded to them.

But their glum faces are excusable since their music is so prodigious – a jangly, angular scuzzy clatter reminiscent of Sonic Youth but with a layer of sound stripped away to reveal a gleaming – yet not entirely polished – under coat.

Elsewhere an element of 70s and 80s alternative American rock is dexterously delivered using tight hooks and quivering chords.

The Strokes pecked freely at this epoch on their debut record Is This It?, and ‘Parasites’ is a gnarly dig at scenesters set to a bass-rumbling shudder of 2001-era Strokesian indie, while a deferential nod to Pavement’s alt.indie is apparant too, particularly on the lazy stoner rock of ‘Mexico’.

They sit uncomfortably with the new batch of indie-dance crossover bands that are saturating indie playlists in 2010, but they’re a trillion times more interesting than some Xeroxed fashion-obsessed dullard with a few synth tricks. If only they’d bloody well cheer up!

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