Soft Science

Test Pattern Records, 2014

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


The bad: the current resurgence of shoegazer/ethereal pop music is full of great bands. Although most of the music is great, almost all of it is nearly indistinguishable from what inspired it in the first place. The talent in these bands is commendable, but what they lack is vision. It is in this crop of bands that Sacramento California’s Soft Science emerges. The band’s music, and most notably lead vocalist Katie Hayley’s vocals, have an unmistakable resemblance to the band Lush, one of the defining acts of the shoegazer/ethereal pop scene. It is not even that Hayley has a natural singing style similar to that of the Miki Berenyi/Emma Anderson combination. But in fact there are hints of imitation in her singing, which makes her otherwise beautiful vocals sound contrived.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The good: amid the all-too-familiar shoegazer sound on Detour, there are diversions that don’t sound as derivative. This quartet mixes elements of ‘60s Britpop that add a refreshing twist to the music found here. The outcome is a blend of sprightly pop music that’s as warm and sunny as the group’s native city. Tracks like “Cold,” “Blue,” and “Please” have the optimistic Britpop sound that resembles the romance and the jauntiness of the ‘60s. On the other hand, the sound gets grittier on cuts like “Falling” and “Free” that feature muscular guitars, resembling the Britpop bands that were more the imitators of The Rolling Stones than The Beach Boys.

The not-so-ugly: there are songs like “Nothing,” “Light,” “Matter,” and “Gone,” the less sanguine and more circumspect material with the strongest shoegazer connection. Now, this could be good or bad depending upon where the listener stands on the snobbery scale. But (as the one-word titles would suggest) Detour is held together by simplicity and none of the heavy serious stuff. The band is content as long as they are creating a sunny pop song. So for the snobs who have a problem and question Soft Science’s originality, the band would gladly tell them to go piss off – but only in not so harsh words, being the chilled-out, peace-loving, and fun creatures that these band members are.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2014 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Test Pattern Records, and is used for informational purposes only.