RIYL: The Cure, The Chameleons, Total Control
By Anthony Saia
There’s something to be said about a Post Punk band still remaining relevant in the Post-era of everything. Coming off their Junior release Choke Portland trio SOFT KILL have done it again. Now, while we only have a snippet from their fourth full-length release Savior, if their first single, “Dancing On Glass” is any indication, their senior album will be their best yet.
Replete with a formula honed by Tobias Grave, Conrad Vollmer & Owen Glendower, the song makes for a sound that’s basically synth-y shoegaze before shoegaze was a thing. Of course, this is a concoction that blends gloom, infused with pop sensibilities and solid songwriting that both epitomizes and transcends the post punk genre.
Regarding Savior, from the band’s Bandcamp Page:
The writing for “Savior” was sparked while returning from tour, frontman Tobias Grave’s wife began to bleed out in the van, at eight months pregnant they were in the middle of nowhere on the side of the road far from a medical facility. The band raced through the night landing at the emergency room of UC Davis Trauma Center in Sacramento where surgery was performed to save both the mother and unborn child. Although the surgery went well, baby Dominick’s lung collapsed on his second day of life causing him to flat line. Grave was forced to standby and watch as the doctors and nurses struggled to keep his newborn child alive with blood transfusions, breathing and feeding tubes. As days turned into weeks, stranded far from home, standing vigil, he purchased a guitar, borrowed a bass from a friend and began to write songs that eventually would become the core of “Savior”. Grave wrote songs about losing his son, his battle with drug addiction, the many tragedies that came along with that life, and the empty space suspended between mourning and celebration, life and death.
With “Savior”, recorded/mixed in Kingsize Sudios in Los Angeles and produced by Benjamin Greenberg (Uniform, The Men, Algiers) SOFT KILL have matured into a powerhouse, effortlessly combining genres, always with Grave’s powerful, raw emotional storytelling where we see a person come to grips with their own reflection as seen in the eyes of their dying son. From the pop perfection of ‘Trying Not to Die’ to the swelling and crushing guitars on ‘Hard Candy’ to the unrelenting dirge of ‘Bunny Room’, “Savior” is a creative tour de force. Drawing from a diverse musical palette, “Savior” is influenced by early U2, Gun Club, The Replacements and a requiem to Tom Petty.
Ultimately, we are very much looking forward to the 11th of May and the release of the whole record. As fans of the their previous work, SOFT KILL have kept the post punk genre alive. Seriously though. Sick of not having and new Echo records? Jesus and Mary Chain records? Joy Division records? Then Soft Kill just might be for you.