Jan 31, 2009 Daytrotter Studio, Rock Island, IL

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  1. Higher 04:07
  2. Droppin' 04:32
  3. Blood Stood Still 03:52
  4. Above All Else 02:41

Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley

Don't think it's right. Matter of fact it's not and that's clear, but something about accidentally coming across an episode of "The Bachelor" the other night and not immediately and repulsively turning it right the fuck off gives me a jumping off point when writing this essay about the New York City band Soft. There's a specific, but not particular scene (and this one happened whatever day this week that that show finds itself airing, though one gets the feeling that it's as regular of an occurrence as they come from one week to the next on either this program or the one where the girl picks of a similar name) where a girl is disastrously not given one of those all-important roses and has mere minutes to pack up her belongings and get the hell out of the house. It inevitably leads to a sorry example of a "broken" woman shelling out the tears for the cameras as she slumps into the back seat of a limousine and bemoans, tries to figure out where it all went wrong on that yellow brick road to prearranged, kind of spontaneous spouse seeking. The way it happened this week - and, again, it must happen like this ALL the time - the departing girl was so flummoxed by the expulsion because she'd put herself completely out there, she'd fallen in love, she'd done everything she possibly could and - like always - she'd been rejected. She is up in arms, with soppy cheeks and eyes, because she was the right girl for that guy and now her confidence is shot, for the birds. Soft, led by former Siren Six member John Reinbeck, does this thing with music that lets this concept, borne of the neediness and displaced reality of a contestant on a reality show for finding love in the craziest way, merge with something that acts as a clashing opposite. All of it works itself together into this arena-rock balladry that's like a soft serve of the kind of layered sound that tends to go over universally well in the United Kingdom and seems to make good bank for artists on "Grey's Anatomy" and formerly "The O.C." Reinbeck seems to sing songs that pop in and out of certainty and they could definitely be taken as comfort medicine by this ousted girl from the television show, even if she only knew about them because she read on some blog somewhere that the band took its name from a suggestion made by someone in Maroon 5. They enjoy a lovely and strapping complex about what it's going to take to either, a.) understand someone or b.) understand the way that they want to love you or c.) all of the above. It makes a little co-pay that way. The songs seem as if they are going to ponder all of those questions in a very thunderous and electrifying way, in very stylish jeans and fairly attractive shirts. It's almost as if they're willing to never let on that they're scathed, that they've been scathed in the past. It's all the lyrics that are softest, in an interesting way, weaving as a parallel line with these big arrangements only to show that they're going to be prone to a candid interview in the backseat of a limousine or just a taxi maybe in this case, if the lady of the moment drops back out of the picture after all of the teasing that she did.

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