Album Review

Sean Darlington

Literally, the sound is nothing new.

The Soft Pack is an indie pop quartet from California. The band formed in San Diego in 2007 as The Muslims. The band has since relocated to Los Angeles and, due to much controversy, has changed their name to The Soft Pack. After much anticipation, they have finally released their new self-titled album.

Featuring a late 60s/early 70s garage rock sound, The Soft Pack is an up-tempo, youthful ride through the California surf scene. The band cites The Replacements, The Posies and Iggy Pop as a few of their influences, and those influences can be felt throughout the album.

While their pop-punk surf sound is really quite intriguing, many of the songs seem to sound too much alike. The most noticeable difference between most of the songs are their titles, which just so happen to also be the songs’ complete choruses, being repeated over and over and over. If you forget what song you’re listening to… just wait till the chorus.

The driving tempo stays the same throughout the entire album with the exception of “Mexico”, a slowed down ballad that forces the album to a screeching stop, only to immediately speed it back up for one last song. Not exactly the arc you would hope for or expect from these guys.
The album does have some standout songs. “Down on Loving” is a catchy little song reminiscent of the sound of Social Distortion and “Flammable” almost sounds like a Dead Kennedys song. Even with that going for them, they can only go so far without the personality that Mike Ness and Jello Biafra bring to their songs. Personality goes a long way.

Singer/guitarist Matt Lamkin has said of his band that he isn’t quite sure why they have gained the notoriety they have. He has been quoted as saying, “A lot of our sound is considered boring or uninteresting, or its been done. Literally, the sound is nothing new.”

Well… I’m convinced.