ALBUM REVIEW - Soft Science - Maps - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: Soft Science

RELEASE: Maps

RELEASE DATE: 1st June 2018

RECORD COMPANY: Test Pattern Records

Sacramento-based 'Soft Science' reside in the grooves between music genres, pulling different influences from each to create something altogether sublime. From shoegaze to dream-pop and power-pop to alt-rock, each of the aforementioned genre's sonic impressions are brilliantly compressed and honed until their forms have been collectively reimagined into one intensive surge of melody. The band are made up of Ross Levine, Katie Haley, Matt Levine, Tony Cale & Mason DeMusey with influences ranging from The Beach Boys to Lush, Pale Saints, Teenage Fanclub, New Order and Jesus And Mary Chain. Their latest long player entitled 'Maps' was officially released back on June 1st 2018 via the good folks over at 'Test Pattern Records' and is available to buy/download right now on various formats via testpatternrecords.bandcamp.com

In a haze of fizzing guitars and dreamy melody the opening bars of ‘Undone’ permeate the senses with tingling clouds of shimmering reverberation. Swirling sound-waves charge skywards as a steady drum pattern tethers itself to those sublime swells of synth and the throb of luscious bass allowing that alluring vocal line to meander in and out of the collective instrumentation with relative ease. ‘Undone’ is captivating and a marvellous opening salvo indeed. Up next, ‘Breaking’ bounces into audible range strapped to a tumbling line of synth and a fast injection of tempo. Surging swells of keyboard dance just below the mix as jangling guitar progressions envelope those magical vocalisations and we’re pulled into that soaring chorus break. Catchy chord changes here erupt as we rise on clouds of synth and tumble into reverberating walls of beautiful noise. ‘Diverging’ charges into the ether on a pounding swagger of percussion as the throb of bass as those swirling lines of synth pull beautiful vocalisations out into the open allowing fuzzy guitars to ebb and flow with ease. There’s a brilliant instrumental break here that rises majestically, bursting through layers of hypnotic synth, swirling guitars and boisterous drums to allow subtle vocal refrains to peek through until the tracks end. ‘Diverging’ is a triumph and a definite highlight for me on this release.

‘There’ arrives grinding through layers of reverberating guitars before that melodic vocal line takes hold and pulls the listener skywards. This is an absolutely magnificent slice of dreamy shoegaze tinged with simmering flourishes of dream-pop. Lines of lead guitar whirr and intertwine brilliantly with those catchy chord structures as swirling instrumental drones circumnavigate the entire track creating cyclonic frequencies that bounce and jostle for space in amongst lines of humming bass and hypnotic synth. There’s a subtle tinge of Californian psychedelia emanating from 'Apart' that is addictively delicious. That off beat jingle of tambourine coupled with the flutter of organ and that slow moving drum track instantly captivates as we’re led into a magnificent change of tack and those lead guitars whip and harass the piece into submission. The vocal lines here flow cleanly, easily hovering over that laid back groove too which only adds to the overall feel of the track. ‘Sooner’ soars into the ether on cyclonic waves of simmering synth, humming bass and jangling guitars that all meld effortlessly with those dreamy vocalisations courtesy of Katie Haley. Catchy chorus changes reminiscent of seminal era Lush are intensely captivating here also as are those twinkling tambourine shakes that arrive sporadically to ride that steady percussive swagger.

‘Know’ explodes into a riotous kaleidoscope of colourful sonic waves as those arcing 80’s themed synth lines merge with charging bass frequencies and the sheer rage of percussion. Swirling guitars circumnavigate around the vocal track menacingly, backed up with lines of lead and oodles of reverberation as we’re led through a brilliant song-structure and catapulted out into the ether. ‘Know’ is sublime and another highlight for me on this release. The serine opening bars of 'Still' meander into audible range gliding on lines of synth and layers of fuzzy guitar. It’s melodic vocal lines ride a steady wave of percussion and juggle blissful chord changes with ease. It’s a little slice of summery summer vibes all wrapped up in one dreamy shoegaze package. The albums penultimate piece comes in the form of ‘Enough’. Noisy guitars pull glistening swells of synth out into the open as that brilliant drum track keeps a metronomic tempo underfoot and the throb of bass frequencies tingle the senses. Vocal lines shimmer as they glide through those verse progressions and sparkle brightly as those twinkling electronics arrive and the soaring lines of synth carry them skywards through the scintillating chorus progressions whilst ‘Slip’, the albums closing piece, is one minute and twenty four seconds of melodic bliss and a fantastic finale to a wonderful album.

4/5

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Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, postpunk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm  - Primal Radio -  has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting genres of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.