Album Review//The Soft Pack - Strapped

We were delighted to hear Strapped, the new release from The Soft Pack and even more delighted the second time we listened to it. Strap yourself in, ahem, and come on a listening journey with Seba Rashii Culture

If you remember the time when watercolors appearing on album jackets was de rigueur for music of a vaguely alternative nature then you'll love the artwork of The Soft Pack's latest album Strapped. A ragtag bunch of animals and fruits fill the space and it's a mysterious statement of intent for an album full of music that speaks right in your face most of the time. And above all it's great!

It's the melodies that carry the album along and the band clearly know how to make them work. From the first chords of surf pop flavored opener Saratoga, sailing along on a psychedelia infused guitar wave and echoed vocal, it's a journey that flies by with enjoyment. Also stroking the ear like with silkiest of touch is They Say an addictive slice of pyychedelic rock that works as quick as the best medicine. If the thought of sunshine wasn't there in your minds eye at the beginning it's certainly there at the end!

Other highlights include Tallboy, cruising along on a roller coaster of chords and brass that mask the darker content of the song perfectly. Listening to it is almost a joyful experience until you listen to the despair in the lyrics just as the earworm of a melody that opens Bobby Brown is memorable and very likable. It's message of looking after those around us is a very valid one and when there are sax breakdowns like the one here you know you're onto a winner. 

As the album progresses more musicology comes your way but it's always in ways that impress such as the devils brew like production on Chinatown or Everything I Know that as well as being brilliantly done also serves to pull you into the world of the almost cinematic music. Strapped begins to wind down with Bound To Fall, with it's wonderfully literate lyrics and brilliant delivery of the chorus's 'I'll end up down again' refrain impressing over numerous listens. 

As the album closes with the almost seven minute epic Captain Ace you're left with a feeling that this album will be with you for many years to come. Strapped, then, is perhaps a title that suits this album perfectly. Certainly, it's a listen replete with meaning, gorgeous production and above all thrills to match the best music. 

Reviewed by Sebastian Gahan.  

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