Soft Science warned us with their first two double A singles from ‘Maps’ that something very special was on its way and, in ‘Maps’, something special has been delivered. Hailing from sunny California, Soft Science have gifted an album rooted to some extent in a very British shoegaze cloak that is yet somehow imbued with a sparkle and lustre from the West Coast.
The MBV influence is detected straight away in the opening song, the first single ‘Undone’, with its discordant shimmer and wall of sound. Second track, ‘Breaking’ is infused with a sunny glow, introducing a shaft of Beach Boys shine punctuated by glorious horn riffs and pounding bittersweet melodies. This track also goes to show that such is the strength of Soft Science’s writing, any song on ‘Maps’ could have been a contender for a single. It’s simply that good.
Case in point is third track ‘Diverging’ which has a bass line bigger that the San Andreas Fault that bubble and rumbles like a heartbeat through the song. Singer Katie Haley’s voice is ethereal, ghostly, mesmerising. Shimmering shards of guitars and a Beatlesque melody feature in ‘There’ while ‘Apart’ features a psychedelic, brooding Hammond organ-driven tone.
‘Sooner’ the other single off ‘Maps’ we reviewed earlier this year is classic muscular shoegaze of the highest pedigree as is ‘Know’: distinct, driving – exposing the heavier side of Soft Science. With songs like ‘Slip’, you can detect a glorious genetic link in this band’s songwriting from The Jesus and Mary Chain, Lush and The Cocteau Twins through to the Beach Boys that has created its own unique branch on an eminent tree.
This indeed is an album that puts on display Soft Science’s array of weapons skilfully deployed throughout – from bright bubbling surf rock-infused pop songs to dream pop lusciousness (‘Enough’) and heavy duty thunderous shoegaze. A band that is skilled enough to utilise the most superglue-like melodies in every single song that inevitably spin a mesmerising web in your head for hours. This album is an instant classic and an absolute joy to listen to. It is a musician’s old school delight: a wholly formed album – ten brilliant pop songs that demand attention.
You can get the album through all the usual source and direct from the band here.
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