Record Review: SOON gives The Love Language's hooks heavy-metal armor on Vol. 1 | Record Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Record Review: SOON gives The Love Language's hooks heavy-metal armor on Vol. 1 

03.02musreviewcover_soon.jpg

Perceptions of SOON tend to arrive with a smirk. The nascent, metal-clad quartet is the secondary concern of Stuart McLamb, whose long-running band The Love Language favors Spector-swept pop that basks in its own romantic glow. Consequently, the slow-moving, low-tuned SOON generated preemptive criticism as a trend-chasing fad (meant to earn its frontman tough-guy cachet) or as a passing fancy (a convenient distraction within a genre that prides itself as a lifestyle). "Poser shit," one might quip.

But the magnetic "We Are On Your Side," which starts SOON's debut, silences the cynics, at least for five minutes. The quartet slinks through the verses, Mark Connor's ominous guitar line snaking through the rhythm section's sinister plod. In the chorus, though, the amps suddenly fire with distortion. The rhythm section of Rob Walsh and Thomas Simpson wallops with purpose. And McLamb crests above it all, an air of menace outlining his refrain's wonderfully theatric arc. It sounds like steel-plated Love Language or, viewed from a different vantage, doom delivered by a classically gifted singer. This is a truly introductory anthem, then, an assertion that this band is some aggressive update on McLamb's past, not some vapid turn from it.

When SOON lets McLamb's preternatural ease with melody guide these songs, the band ensnares its audience with a trap built with high volume and set with a winning refrain. For seven of these eight songs, that's exactly what they do. "Datura Stramonium" pulls a bit of U2's grandeur (and The Edge's love of stereo delay) into its rumble, while "Burning Wood" punches through a bulwark of distortion with the glee of Torche. Acoustic creeker "Mauveine" drifts through forlorn scenes of disrepair, cellos tracing the frown-shaped harmonies. All these tunes use the hook as the ballast; they're so strong you could imagine many of them recast by a rock band.

But when SOON pushes beyond that framework, the entire operation can feel fragile, like an experiment in need of an anchor. For the finale, SOON slips into a fog-shrouded haze of amplifier worship, the tubes glowing like an effete Sunn O))) approximation. It's a trial best chalked up to error on an album that, for the most part, moves assuredly through an alternate universe of heavy hits.

SOON appears Friday, March 4 at Kings in Raleigh. Tickets are $7, the show starts at 9:30 p.m.

This article appears in print with the headline "Sooner and Later."

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Record Review



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Love it! All the songs are beautiful!

by Jon Champion on Record Review: The Return of The Veldt, The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation, Is Great (Record Review)

This release will be available Friday December 4th here:

http://gnoer.bandcamp.com/

Thanks! …

by Scott Phillips on Review: The electronic excellence of GNØER's Tethers Down (Record Review)

You should have let Currin write this. One of the best singers on earth and these were your observations? sounds …

by Remo on Record review: Jeanne Jolly's A Place to Run (Record Review)

Comments

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation