Soft Gang’s name is one of those non-descript monikers that feel like you’ve heard it before a dozen times over, akin to any number of animal tagged bands of years past or the constant beach combers that never cease to pop up. But for as much as their name tends to fold into the background of a thousand soft namesakes, their sound stands them up and apart from the rabble. They find themselves perched in a din of noise and krautrock precision and an experimental attitude that permeated the late ’90s core of post-rock lock-steppers like Don Caballero or June of 44. Though don’t for a second think that an association with post-rock means that the band is in anyway buttoned down and checking their mathematics of riff. Though they have the length and repetition on lock they also tend to wander off into noise breakdowns and some squelch that reminds me of Afrirampo or Nisennenmondai.
The band’s got some pedigree coming in, Dahm Cipolla (Phantom Family Halo, Sapat) on drums and Charlie Hines (Dichroics, Sabers) on bass form a formidable rhythm section that holds the fray in place, dirging when necessary and ramping up to a full rumble at a moment’s notice. There are areas where the band’s eponymous album drags, but those are soon forgiven for the moments when they burn and crinkle, singe and repeat. A few more listens strip away some of the artful coverings and expose an album with a heart that want’s to dance, just not in a way that’s carefree. If you can give yourself over to full body convulsions and a constant rocking chug, then Soft Gang have a song or two to unlock your spirit. Its got teeth when it needs it and for that I’m enjoying the ride.
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