Sep 22, 2011 Web Exclusive
Hypnotic. It’s an easy starting point to describe what Soft Metals vocalist Patricia Hall and keyboardist Ian Hicks accomplish with their self-titled debut. All trance beats and breathy vocals; theirs is an aggressive argument for a return to the dance floor—seemingly lost in the haze of last year’s don’t-call-it-chillwave-wave. But while the band’s siren call starts as inviting, there is little variation to these 10 tracks—making the songs often feel monotonous rather than pleasantly endless.
The problem lies in the album’s breathing room—as Soft Metals appear to be the sort of folks who prefer their dance floors packed and sweaty. Synths and drum machines sitting at the front of the mix, Hall’s Italo croon seems like the thinnest of afterthoughts, crammed in the corner and lacking the Baby-like ability to escape. “Always” proves to be Hall’s sole showcase, her longing-filled pleas backed by a sparse, seven-note synth-riff that a 1980s Goth would give his favorite eyeliner to write.
Surprisingly, for the romantic/musical couple, Soft Metal’s sound doesn’t seem to be coming to a place of conviction, but rather complacency. Sensual? Sure, I’ll buy that—as every track is peppered with a romantic view of the days of dark dance clubs and dry humping. But lacking the bombast of Glass Candy, or the outright weirdness of Chromatics, there’s very little to suggest anything more than a playful retread—which falls flat when it comes to selling M83 knock-off “Celestial Call,” or aimless instrumental closer, “In Throes.” A good start to your evening—but certainly not capable of carrying the whole night. (www.facebook.com/SOFTMETALS)
Author rating: 5/10
Average reader rating: 5/10