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The Soft Pack
The Soft Pack

filed 02.10.10

In the spring of 2009 a band called The Muslims came roaring out of San Diego. They had a self-titled EP out on the small 1928 Recordings label and it's furious mix of garage band production and Ramones-esque intensity was churning out the buzz. Within a month the band changed their name, having tired of the ignorant comments directed at them, to The Soft Pack. It was a gutsy move for a band that was just cementing their identity and garnering serious attention while doing so. But The Soft Pack sound gutsy in their songs, so it's only right that they can walk the walk.

Everybody remembers the garage revival of the late '90's, bringing bands like The Strokes and White Stripes to the forefront of the industry. The Soft Pack's initial EP released as The Muslims had a similar feel, though it actually sounded like it was recorded in a garage, which was part of the charm. The songs were earnest, peppy punk blitzkriegs. Now the band has released, The Soft Pack, their self-titled full-length album for Kemado Records. With this release came a lot of questions, could they maintain the edge that had earned them all the buzz in the first place? Could they cement an argument for their place in the industry like those bands in the late '90's, who unlike The Soft Pack, had major label support in many instances? Well, the answer to the latter is still undetermined, but the answer to many other questions facing the band have come out in their favor.

The Soft Pack is a tightly wound collection of songs just like their debut EP. Songs like "Parasites" and "C'mon" show the fury of their initial release, while they show growth on tracks like "Move Along."

There's no time for ballads in The Soft Pack's world, and any avid listener shouldn't want there to be. The beauty of this album is the pace at which it moves. Whether listening to it while driving, around the house, or at work (just quiet enough so your boss doesn't get concerned, just loud enough for it to feel secretly infectious), your day is pretty much guaranteed to feel like it's moving at the same clip. And you'll find it impossible to keep yourself from bopping along. Something that isn't so foreign to the experience of listening to a Ramones album, either.

All told, The Soft Pack may sound a little more polished than The Muslims, but not so much as to take away from the endearing nature of that debut. And while the band may have changed their name since those early days of blossoming fame, nothing about their sound has softened. Tracks like "Answer To Yourself" and "Down On Loving" highlight the album with an enthusiasm that may prove costly for your neck muscles, but enjoyable for every other inch of your music-loving body and soul.

ryanRyan W. Bradley was born in Palmer, AK and was raised between Alaska and Oregon. He has pumped gas, worked on a construction crew on the North Slope, and fronted a punk band. He now manages an independent children's bookstore. He received his MFA from Pacific University and his poetry and fiction has been published or is forthcoming in The Oregonian, Gargoyle, Word Riot, Third Wednesday, Sir! Magazine, and PANK. He is also the editor of Artistically Declined Press and lives in Southern Oregon with his wife and two sons. Like the Glacier Page? Visit Ryan’s blog here.