Published Oct 03, 2018Now four years removed from their debut album, Dead Soft return with a strong EP that shows what time, patience and a change of scenery can do for a group of struggling young artists.
After being forced out of unaffordable Vancouver, the band sought shelter in the woods of Gabriola Island, BC, and put together this consistent and succinctly crafted five-song set that manages to be brooding and sanguine all at once.
With a style you could call "grunge-pop," Dead Soft work in coordinated contrasts: The verses are pitch-dark and paint bleary, unsettling images of gloom and solitude, while the choruses are bright and renewing, opening up the way for clear-eyed reflection. These aren't the post-breakup blues; they're songs that look back on a failed relationship, examine it and ultimately accept that it's over — though not without a twinge of lingering pain and anger. New Emotion is about new beginnings, even if you're not necessarily ready for it yet.
This release smoothes out the rough, sharp edges of their 2014 self-titled effort, an album that brought back the wild, abrasive energy of Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana and Dinosaur Jr. It was a sound that was waiting to be distilled. Here, the songs are tight and refined, with an even greater emphasis on mood and melody.
Dead Soft's style leaves no room for flashy instrumentation, but well-placed harmonies, clever guitar licks and other sonic trinkets help lift them over the threshold of dime-a-dozen sadcore and toward the territory of newer contemporaries like Title Fight, Tigers Jaw and Teenage Wrist. "Kill Me" and "Down" are good entry points, but there isn't a weak link in the chain. (Arts & Crafts)