Review Summary: Killing us softly…
Soft Kill have been creeping around for a little while now with one effort after another trying to capitalise on their unique approach to completely redundant and overplayed influences every fresh-off-a-high-school post-punk band today does, even more synthetic New Order and even less energetic Joy Division. You know, the first thing that comes to mind. But Soft Kill seemed, if not original among the bland pile, at least mildly intriguing. Not that their song-writing and instrumental chops were anything much to praise, but somehow the overall execution of albums such as Heresy
did manage to leave an impression of a certain quality the band is yet to fully learn to grab. Choke
was overly industrial and musically non-distinct from anything else in the stylistic horde, but at least had a few catchy moments, while Heresy
went all in on the emotional dissonance, which ultimately served them well. But Savior
finds the band struggle to climb out of the musical hole they dug themselves in with the blatant influences and for the most part just seems like a reach into every direction previously explored on their other work.
It all kicks off promisingly enough; “Swaddle” is an energetic, kicking tune with explosive instrumentation and atmospheric production, but its arrangement quality got quickly overshadowed by the poorly mixed vocals that just take away from any and all excitement the song could have possibly evoked. But at least it had its energy to carry it, right after that the album as if gets dropped into the pit of redundancy, where one song after another sounds exactly the same.
In talking about this band I often have kept coming back (and probably will) to likening them to New Order and Joy Division, and often that comparison seemed as primitive as the band’s worship of those artists. Savior
might be their first album, where this likeness is the only clear and distinct characteristic. Long gone are the days of Choke
’s more electronic messiness or even more so Heresy
’s guitar-wielding urgency and sonic contempt. Savior
is just a recycled cliché that might try to implement more of that natural instrumental composition like on Heresy
and still come off a little more subtle and free—flowing like on Choke
, but in the end they come off as clueless and banal as any novice.