Editors Summery: Matmos’ Drew Daniel makes a record of subtle beauty and dazzling ambition, mixing up a host of genres in the process. No-one (including us) is surprised.
“Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” This is a question posed by St. Paul in Romans 6:1 that begins an investigation into how we are to continue to exist in a world of sin, and it’s a question that Drew Daniel posed to himself during the creation of The Soft Pink Truth’s new LP of the same name. In a post-Donald-Trump-election world, Daniel took the Apostle’s question to heart and instead of pitting anger against anger dove into a world of collaboration and meditative calm.
Shall We Go On Sinning…has a tracklisting that mirrors its title and keeps the whole undertaking bound together as a whole. The opening track entitled Shall is a Gregorian-chant-esque repetition of the album’s title, not only making sure we hold this question in our mind but also setting a meditative tone for the experience to come. The record’s only weak moment, ironically, is the second track We; it can be a bit cliche in the outset and moves the focus from the ether to the coffee shop. However, it’s the next track, Go, where the personality of the record begins to appear. There was a theme of descending to and returning from the underworld in the ancient religious rituals of Hellenistic Greece and Rome, and this is the soundtrack to the initial descent. A perfect soundtrack for St. Paul’s investigation.
From here on out, the structures fall apart, the collaborators meld together and the listener can settle in and rest in the calm and the joy that Daniel set out to achieve. Familiar voices recur throughout the record, either bare in a naked confidence or so effects-laden that they become an instrument in themselves. In the accompanying press release, Daniel expresses his intention of creating something “socially extended and affirming” which is ironic given the physically and socially distanced COVID-19 world the LP was released into. The Soft Pink Truth is successful at showing that connection is deeper than a handshake.
Shall We Go On Sinning… is an intelligent record; its creator is a Shakespearean scholar afterall. Concept records can, and often do, go horribly wrong, yet The Soft Pink Truth has found a way to be glaringly subtle in its approach and masterfully artistic in its execution.