ALBUM REVIEW: The Soft Pack | Strapped

by Chris Familton

The LA quartet return with their sophomore album that finds them throwing more influences into the mix while still maintaining their highly melodic indie rock sound. Strapped feels like a step up for a band that specialized in efficient garage rock dispatches and even though they have softened their rawer edges they have compensated by dialing in more expansive textures and song structures making Strapped more laid-back and less frenetic than their debut.

Opener Saratoga recalls the vocal melodies of The Stone Roses, highlighting some new variations in Matt Lamkin’s vocal style while saxophone is another great addition that features on half of the album’s twelve tracks. The result sounds like a collision between The Smiths and The Stooges’ Steve Mackay. Elsewhere, dreamy synths take the lead on Tallboy and they head into tropical guitar pop territory on the crisp and smooth Bobby Brown. Thankfully though they have kept their diversification in check and wisely included enough bristling three minute post-Strokes guitar songs to satiate fans of the first album making this a highly enjoyable snapshot of The Soft Pack, past and present.

this review was first published on FasterLouder

New Releases | October 6th 2012


This week sees a handful of noteworthy album releases with the most prominent being the new Tame Impala LP Lonerism. The hype has been building for this one for a while now and on early listens it doesn’t disappoint. There is a huge widescreen sound happening with Kevin Parker’s trademark psych signature all over the guitars, drums and increasingly – synths.

San Diego’s The Soft Pack release Strapped this week, the follow-up to their brilliant self titled album that made the upper reaches of our ‘best of ‘list for 2010. Strapped finds them in the same indie agit-rock vein with some new wave-ish diversions and experimentations.

Moon Duo is another project for Ripley Johnson of Wooden Shjips fame and though they are working in a very similar area to his day band the duo use synths and some brighter and twitchier textures to create some fantastic droning psych rock. Think a modernist boogie take on Suicide. We’ll have a full review of the new record up soon.

For those who appreciate quality americana, Iris DeMent has a new record out. Sing The Delta is her first LP in 16 years and finds her in fine form with her country twang venturing into some wonderful southern soul territory.

Check out the Rdio streams of all this week’s featured new releases:

NEWS: The Soft Pack announce new album details

The Soft Pack’s 2010 self-titled album was one of my favourites of that year so I’m pretty excited that the quartet have a new album Strapped out on September 25th via Mexican Summer. You can check out the first single Saratoga below.

Track Listing:

1. Saratoga
2. Second Look
3. They Say
4. Tallboy
5. Bobby Brown
6. Chinatown
7. Ray’s Mistake
8. Oxford Ave.
9. Everything I Know
10. Head on Ice
11. Bound to Fall
12. Captain Ace