Label: Captured Tracks
TL;DR: Good 7/10
‘…could see being performed on Top of the Pops, as girls and guys in their entire perm glories get down and dirty to it.’
Soft Metals is an electronica duo from Portland, Oregon, comprising of Patricia Hall on vocal duties and Ian Hicks on everything else. Their debut full length Soft Metals leaves little information to the minds of fans. But what we have here is an 80s revival record that could have easily been recorded during its focused decade, the airy vocals from Hall simply breathe upon the Soft Cell and Duran Duran-esque keyboards.
The album begins with Psychic Driving, a track riddled with easy-going keyboards and pretty relaxed synthesisers, bringing a certain lax atmosphere to the record, which is a fantastic imitation of music in the 80s. The effortless vocal from Hall is reminiscent of Annie Lennox, and overall it’s a track you could see being performed on Top of the Pops, as girls and guys in their entire perm glories get down and dirty to it.
There are some tracks which attempt to modernise this derelict sound, either with the use of heavier bass sounds or a faster tempo. The track Voices stands out for me because of its much more modern rhythm and the big booming bass which erupts from within the synth almost takes it to a dubstep-ish level. It sounds like something that could have appeared on Crystal Castles’ II record, just without the ferocity of Alice Glass. The atmosphere is so intoxicating too; the layers of sound are so thick and transcendent to the point of the listener getting lost inside it, which is yet another reason why this record is better at reviving the 80s than others.
This is definitely the best 80s revival record released in 2011, it doesn’t simply stick synthesisers on its sound like many records have done, or take some elements of the 80s and manipulate a sound out of it like Destroyer’s Kaputt. It is all entirely about the 80s, the instruments, the progressions, the riffs, the vocals; it performs in the past but has the future in mind. This makes it a much enjoyable listen because of its nostalgic qualities, and Hall and Hicks have pulled it off very well here.