Soft Science – Highs And Lows

Soft Science – Highs And Lows

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I’m a sucker for summer albums – those sunny samples of washed out guitars, beaming beats and sing-along lyrics – and recently I’ve had plenty to smile about. Best Coast, Sleigh Bells and to a lesser extent The Ting Tings have all dropped albums which epitomize the carefree spirit of the season – complete with a bit of attitude and female singers who come across so hot they’re cool, so cool they’re hot (apologies to Dave Wakeling).

Entering the fray is Sacramento’s Soft Science with its debut Highs And Lows, an instantly likable mix of jubilant hooks and merry melodies. Just two listens in I caught myself singing, enthralling in the sweet voice of Katie Haley (who runs neck and neck with Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino for the role as California’s next great musical darling).

So yes, I like this album, but after listening to the first song, I thought I was going to love it. “When Will You Come Home” is a stunning opener, a two-minute blast conjoining the modern pop tones of these newer bands with the reverb and vigor of noise-rock masters My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain. I stopped still, thinking someone finally managed to take MBV’s dour shoegaze and add the festive dichotomy only a vivacious female singer can.

Alas, the band does not maintain this pace throughout, returning to the typical territory you expect from an indie band called Soft Science (no, not loving the name). But it remains engaging for the most part. “Closer to Me” sustains fuzzy guitar mode, while “Something To Go On” is a guilty pleasure of churning guitars and longing lyrics (Oh how I tried to survive/ Without me passing your mind/ Please won’t you send me a sign/ Something to go on). It makes a great anthem for those high school sweethearts who split midway through freshman year when attending separate colleges.

While “Last Time” is the album’s one true clunker, songs such as “Put Your Arms Around Me” and the album ending “Could It Ever Be True” right the ship in fine fashion. Soft Science is a band of proper potential, and with Highs and Lows has captured a certain zeal. I see nothing but shining days ahead for this foursome.


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