(Academy Fight Song)
First Appeared in The Music Box, January 2008, Volume 15, #1
Written by John Metzger
Thu January 10, 2008, 04:00 PM CST
In 1989, The Stone Rosesí self-titled debut injected a breath of fresh air into the music business. Springing from the Manchester music scene, the groupís rapid ascent single-handedly sparked a revolution that enveloped England by drawing attention to the countless other bands, including Inspiral Carpets and Happy Mondays, that had been toiling by the Stone Rosesí side. After a lengthy court battle with its record label as well as a series of scuttled plans to tour, however, the outfit collapsed under its own weight. In the intervening years, artists ó from Blur to Travis, from Suede to Kasabian ó have drawn influence from the Stone Roses, twisting and turning its psychedelic, dance-friendly, guitar-driven pop in a multitude of ways.
Soft is the latest group to get in on the act, and although it offers little that is new on its self-titled debut Gone Faded, it, perhaps, comes the closest to duplicating the Stone Rosesí signature style. Within the title track, fat bass lines collide with swirling, paisley-colored atmospherics, effectively shrouding The Beatlesí Revolver in a dance club haze. Likewise, the insistent grooves and infectious melodies of songs like Droppiní and Dumb Blood as well as the í60s-derived backmasking techniques employed on Higher were assembled from the very strands of the Stone Rosesí DNA.
Of course, it would be as foolish merely to replicate the Stone Rosesí formula as it would be impossible to ignore the various offshoots and permutations of it that have filtered through the rock world in the intervening years. In that regard, although Softís infatuation with the Stone Roses is obvious, there are other elements that also are at play within its work. You Make Me Wanna Die, for example, folds the kaleidoscopic dreaminess of Sean Lennonís approach to recording into the driving, Brit-pop grooves of Oasis. Similarly, U2ís ecstasy-laden forays on Zooropa and Pop are never far from reach.
Unfortunately, Gone Fadedís problems run deeper than its lack of distinctiveness. Not only is there not much variation among its 11 tracks, but also the setís finest moments are located within its rock-solid opening half. Consequently, Soft ó like many up-and-coming indie outfits ó is unable to sustain interest in the endeavor from beginning to end because Gone Faded runs out of steam somewhere around its midpoint.
Of Further Interest...
Gone Faded is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2008 The Music Box