Soft Science - Maps (Test Pattern Records)
The Sacramento based Soft Science is garnering some well-deserved attention on Maps, their third full length. People in the know were already familiar with this great dream pop band, but that scope is widening with this excellent new release. Nobody will be crying sell out when their ears are treated to the glistening shimmer of these enchanting tunes, every one of them a potential single!
The record careens open with the dynamic thrust of “Undone”, a winning tune for sure. I love the keyboard line that overarches the shining waves of guitar and enhances singer Katie Haley’s dulcet tones. “Breaking” hearkens back to vintage indie pop from the late 80s, only with a modern spin. Utterly delightful!
“Diverging” is a firm favorite of mine, bursting with multicolored musical facets and serving up a magical confection. Massive hooks and Katie’s lovely voice are the icing on this sonic cake. “There” is another great tune, and hints of Lush flit through the mix. Layer upon layer of beautiful noise are sure to win even the most jaded listener!
“Apart” is more pensive and its cadence reminds me of classic British folk rock. The quieter backdrop works to highlight the singular talents in this group. Everyone rules here! The opening chords of the marvelous “Sooner” remind me of none other than 90s stalwarts, Single Gun Theory. I am sure everyone hears something different, but this is how it struck me. Like a fizzing music bomb, this one immediately douses you with its shining beats. And man, it has the best sing along chorus.
“Know” takes on a bit of gazey sheen, with what sounds like a chorus effect on the guitar. It will have you dancing and bobbing your head as you listen, unless you are made of stone! “Still” hits it out of the park, while the majestic “Enough” pulls back the reins a bit and could easily slot in nicely next to Slowdive on your playlist. The album’s coda is the short “Slip” and it ends far too soon. In summary, this is one of the best albums you’re likely to hear this year, and if you haven’t already picked it up, remedy that situation immediately. Highly recommended.