If you have not come across Luke Rathborne, or indeed Rathbone the band surrounding his songwriting skills, do not worry as the healthy buzz around both back in the US is sure to brew up a similar excitement over this side of the pond thanks to the release of new album Soft. An energetic package of tenaciously varied rock ‘n’ roll, the release shows itself to be as at home and accomplished exploring punk, garage rock and indie pop as it is reaping the essences of alternative and seventies American rock. It is a compelling and more often than not an irresistible stomp which will warm up any playlist given the chance.
Hailing from Brunswick in Maine and New York based, man and band make light work of enticing and exciting ears upon the Albert Hammond Jnr of The Strokes, co-produced Soft. Its title track is the first persuasion and swiftly surrounds ears with a dirty but melodically washed sonic temptation. It is raw and wonderfully distorted pop over a scuzzy slow prowl; the union almost Beck meets The Strokes like in its volatile and fiery enterprise. Immediately imagination and appetite are aroused, and given another incendiary spark with the following What More. Cleaner in its energetic pop revelry but still harbouring a great raw edge, the track is a mix of The Cars and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and swift example of the diversity rife within the album.
I’m So Tired steps up next, its Americana like colouring blending with the seventies pop spiced infectiousness coursing through its lively balladry. Though the song does not quite match up to those before or right after, it leaves ears and attention engrossed ready for the outstanding Eno which steps up with its Tom Verlaine and Television like vocal and musical endeavour. A lively romp with addictive qualities, the track reinforces the already thick variety to songs, yet despite their seriously individual characters, each sits perfectly alongside the next as proven once again by the punk lined Low! which soon has feet and emotions bouncing around as if on a power pop trampoline. As many of the tracks, it is a short and insatiable provocateur which almost revels in mischievous intent as it lures, incites, and then runs before the listener can reach the pinnacle of its physical and emotional involvement.
A country breath embraces Little Moment which comes next, the song a radiant encounter hugging a great additional female vocal. It does not spark the same reactions as its companions but that is down to a personal dislike of country flavours and not any real issue with the agreeably crafted song. Particular tastes are soon back on board with the punchy Wanna Be You with its strong throaty bassline and melodic winery, and even more so after the Dylan-esque bluesy tang of Deal, with the rampant catchiness of Why. The track flirts with a bounding rhythmic gait and grungy sonic teasing from the guitars whilst vocally too there is a Nirvana like graze to the delivery. It is another inescapable treat within Soft leaving the garage/hard rock stroll of So Long NYC to close things out in highly satisfying style.
It is fair to say that Soft is one of those albums which are very hard to get out of the head. It might not elevate to being a heart embraced favourite but it definitely gets under the skin and stays with thoughts and emotions, returning whenever it pleases with certain hooks and melodies.
Soft is available now via True Believer and @ http://lukerathborne.bandcamp.com/
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