The Soft Pack

I know this has been out for ages but I'm just loving it. Formerly known as The Muslims, this San Diego four piece wisely changed their name and emerged with a belated release of this debut proper. It doesn't rewrite anything but just hits all the indie-punk buttons in quite a mild mannered, but endlessly pleasing way. The formula is very much two minute breakneck shots of garage rock full of jangle guitars, frantic drums and all propelled by singer Matt Lamkin's deadpan swagger. Where this formula is broken is where this band really come alive. Midway through the record you get Pull Out. It establishes a steady beat early on and keeps it steady throughout. Lamkin's repeated vocals give it an almost Krautrock kind of mesmerism. It builds up on this pace then crashes down to return to the rolling drum beat, then starts the process again. Closing track Parasites continues this structure but eases down on the gas and finishes things with at a belting pace. It employs extended areas of driving guitar between Lamkin's shouted vocals and sees the last minute out in this fashion. I's the final sprint and it's electrifying.

There's been much hype surrounding this band, largely due to the name change but also some pretty memorable live shows. This hype has taken its time to manifest here in the UK and it might have been difficult for a small band's reputation to precede them this much. But this release does all that justice and more than wets the appetite for the future.