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Soft: The newest record from Rathborne

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It seems fitting that an early champion of New York based musician Luke Rathborne, was none other than Joey Levine. While Rathborne has more in common with Lou Reed than the bubble gum pop that Levine produced in the 1960s, similarities do exist. Musically, the songs that comprise Soft are free of complexity and heavy on attitude, something the beginnings of rock and roll is defined by. But the near-skeletal arrangements is not for lack of scope. It is this simplicity and charm that makes Soft such a well rounded, fun album equally reminiscent of the snarl of the Ramones and the levity of Blondie.

The sequencing of the record is further proof that this album was made with a steady hand. Positioning the quiet, serene sounding "Little Moment" at the album's half-way point was an excellent move. It's placement provides the record with a striking centerpiece, while also giving the album a natural pace. But it is on the standout track, "Deal," that Rathborne saves his harshest commentary. Singing "And when I'm twenty-five I hope I'm more dead than alive and it feels alright," embodies the seemingly contagious malaise that has come to define the current twenty-something generation left to cope with severely diminished expectations. More so than that, it reveals a bleakness that exists just beneath the shiny melodies present on Soft. It's a lovely juxtaposition, one that cleverly acknowledges how things do seem a little less possible and a little less attainable with every line to appear on one's face. That said, the album is far from grim. More than anything, Soft successfully showcases Rathborne's own brand of garage pop, full of moments that make you turn the volume up just a little louder.


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