Under Review

Dead Soft

Dead Soft (Kingfisher Bluez)

by James Olson

A debut album is like a snapshot of a band. It gives as complete a picture as listeners can find of a new group’s sound and sets the stage for future releases. Dead Soft’s first full length on the Kingfisher Bluez label succeeds for the simplest of reasons: the songs are well-crafted, loud, and memorable. Vancouver is not without its share of grunge revival bands —War Baby, Weed, Nu Sensae — but Dead Soft set themselves apart with a refreshing sonic blend of alternative rock styles. Switching between shoegaze, fuzz, and power pop as quickly as one triggers a distortion pedal, this three-piece has plenty to offer as a songwriting unit.

The record`s initial trio of songsshowcase different aspects of Dead Soft’s musical character while hooking listeners into the album. “Phase” rocks a garage surf groove, “Everything” is a fuzz barnburner punctuated by an unforgettable guitar lead, and “Never Forever” pummels the listener with a crushing chorus sandwiched between sensitive, restrained verses.
Recorded and mixed at the Noise Floor by Jordan Koop, the production on Dead Soft comes off as exceptionally organic. The album sounds like the band is literally playing a private concert in your bedroom. Songs like “Death Is At My Door” and “Come Back” sound massive, but definitely man-made. Nathaniel Epp is the perfect vocal match for the band’s sound because he’s able to emit a strained howl and confidently carry a melody. All things considered, Dead Soft’s debut is catchy, emotional, and refreshing.