Two years in production, with 12 songs gleaned
from the 30 recorded, The Soft Pack were pushing for a new sound, new
directions for this, their second release. Their dismantled-pop sound has an embraceable strangeness about it, defying
genres and making them challenging to pigeonhole, not unlike how The Buzzcocks
or Butthole Surfers are singular sounding. Strapped is a marked maturation from their San Diego start five years ago as the
slightly inflammatorily-named band The Muslims.
Songs like driving opener “Saratoga” and
upbeat rockers like “Second Look,” “China Town,” and “Ray’s Mistake,” while
musically treading where they’ve been before, are more beefed up and complex
than earlier efforts. The instrumental “Oxford Avenue” is a Beefheartian
noise-jam accompanied by a funky backbeat with dueling saxophonic squawking in
an echo chamber, along with synth keyboards recalling the Psychedelic Furs. Other
tunes like “Tallboy” and “Captain Ace” fit in backing horns with Farfissa organ
and old school New Wave.
DOWNLOAD: “Oxford Avenue,” “Captain Ace” -BARRY