Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Soft Pack - Saratoga

My reigning memory of The Soft Pack was that they were my Valentine's date two years ago. With no romantic prospects on the horizon, and after many weeks of playing the band's self-titled second album on heavy rotation at the record shop we worked in, two friends and myself snapped up tickets and dodged the rose-toting couples along the North Laines to the safety of The Freebutt.

Arriving at the venue, suspicions that Brighton is, indeed, for lovers, were confirmed. For a band that everyone had been talking about for months before, and who were the cause of way too many bag clashes - they were giving them away free with the album, and the logo could probably be seen radiating across the ocean to the beaches of France - the place was almost dead with only a few fellow single folk propping up the bar. But when The Soft Pack took to the stage, any ounce of self-pitying was immediately forgotten. They tore through their set with energy and force, gathering the small crowd at the edges of the stage, delivering the probing lyrics in a more ferocious and challenging manner than when they were embedded among the pop riffs on record. I remember the whole show racing past until it was time for the curfew, and I walked back home never happier to have been date-less on February 14th.

After the show we didn't hear a lot from them again, but this month they have returned with a new song, 'Saratoga', taken from the upcoming album Strapped. I'm lucky enough to have heard the whole record thanks to work, and this track is only a small sample of what's to come - there are definite adventures into the world of Ariel Pink-style songwriting and some funkier stuff that works surprisingly well. But for now, I give you 'Saratoga'. It's good to have them back.

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