Release Date: Feb 2, 2010
Record label: Kemado
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Anytime people start panicking about that nasty free internet putting an end to music, they should always consider The Dark Times of the early Noughties. Remember the garage rock revival of 2001-2002 ish? Sort of conflated with the NME’s New Rock Revolution thingy? Yeah: how many bands were actually involved? It was, like, ten tops, pulled together from across absurd geographical distances (the US, Sweden, New Zealand... the UK if you will insist on counting The Blueskins).
Lets get something out of the way. Yes, the Soft Pack was the band formerly known as the Muslims. It’s the exact same band. And no matter what you feel about the name change, its here to stay and has nothing to do with their San Diego beach-brand of easy garage punk. So get over it! Besides, the ….
The Soft Pack began their career as the Muslims, releasing a couple of witty, sharp-edged singles before negative comments about their name forced them to change it. However, everything else about the band’s smart, strummy sound remained the same, as their excellent Muslims EP and self-titled debut album proved. Listeners of a certain age (or at least a certain kind of record collection) will be struck by not just how much déjà vu The Soft Pack gives them, but how many kinds of it the album conjures.
California quartet sports new name, old sound Familiarity often gets a bad rap in modern music. Granted, most every standard-issue rock ’n’ roll band will bring to the seasoned listener’s mind any number of previous standard-issue rock ’n’ roll bands, but incorporating one’s influences as opposed to simply aping them is a special kind of science. Enter The Soft Pack.
Some thought it was a copout for San Diego garage-rockers the Muslims to give themselves such a cheekily provocative name-- well, coming from four white guys based in a U.S. military outpost, at least-- only to recoil in the face of mounting media attention and change it to the more innocuous Soft Pack. But listening to the band's second album (and first under the new handle) the name-switcheroo scheme now feels appropriately symbolic of the band's evolving personality: Their two-minute missives still charge ahead with jangle-punk strums, pedal-to-the-floor backbeats, and deadpan vocal delivery, but all that swagger can't conceal the band's congenial and increasingly introspective nature.
What, you mean this hasn’t been out already? No, but you might be forgiven for thinking so, and wondering what’s taken [a]The Soft Pack[/a] so long – there are bands in our top tips for 2010 that had their debut albums out before one of our hottest for 2009 (well done, [a]Delphic[/a]…). As such, rather than capitalising on the hype that their controversial name-change and the release of the brilliant ‘[b]Muslims[/b]’ EP built, [a]Matt Lamkin[/a] and his boys are starting to seem almost old-hat just at the point where we should be most excited about them.Forget that, though. Sounds like these cut through media overkill like Cillit Bang through dried-on egg.
The Soft Pack were once called the Muslims, but that caused too many problems so they named themselves after a type of flaccid dildo instead. These Californians make the kind of simple garage-rock that's kept suburban American guitar shops in insouciant employees for decades. This debut mines 30 years of music by the Ramones, the Replacements, IRS-era REM and every other band that has ever gleefully doubled up guitar parts and vocal harmonies.
The Soft Pack, formerly known as the Muslims, spent most of 2009 shifting between changing names, releasing a few EPs, and, in a way, trying to really aim at their forte. The Muslims EP was an exhilarating, straight shooting statement, with three chord anthems and seductive bass lines that actually got you to pay attention. Even if there existed a lack of variety, that extended play was about the perfect way to end an already mis-identified end-of-decade; it was that last effort to join that charismatic pool of already defunct garage rockers.
Though undoubtedly a smart PR move, it's disappointing that the Soft Pack changed its name from the Muslims, which seemed to fit the L.A. quartet's tongue-in-cheek don't-give-a-fuck attitude and lo-fi guitar jihad. "C'mon" kicks off the band's debut full-length with the kind of catalyzing call that births scenes, so its early R.E.M. and Lou Reed seems appropriate even as the quartet situates in SoCal punk.
LIL WAYNE“Rebirth”(Cash Money/Universal) Sure, Lil Wayne’s rock album, “Rebirth,” is a misfire, the kind of thing that happens when a star overestimates his skills (and calls his opening track “American Star”). But if Kid Rock can rap, why can’t Lil Wayne try being a rocker? “Rebirth” is a detour in a hip-hop career that was phenomenally prolific up to the triple-platinum album “Tha Carter III,” the best-selling album of 2008. (There was also plenty of free Lil Wayne available on mixtapes.) Even while touring extensively, Lil Wayne tossed off a quick-tongued album-length mixtape, “No Ceilings,” in 2009.
It trades innovation for let-loose fun, and wears its influences proudly. Mike Diver 2010 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.