Soft Kill
Dead Kids R.I.P. City


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jesper L. CONTRIBUTOR (49 Reviews)
November 23rd, 2020 | 59 replies


Release Date: 11/20/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Contemplatively upbeat

In spite of its ominous title, Dead Kids R.I.P. City is Soft Kill’s warmest, most fully realised album yet. While sticking to their post-punk roots, the new record sees the band continuing down the path laid out by Savior in 2018, turning even further inwards lyrically while simultaneously expanding on their established, highly recognisable sound. The result is a truly magnificent album that sees fit to explore and simplify some of the darkest corners of the mind through sheer beauty, passion and a whole lot of raw talent.

The textures embedded within Dead Kids R.I.P. City make for its accessibility as well as lending it a great degree of cohesion. While Soft Kill have always been experts at crafting catchy, gloomy numbers, the focus on a real sense of progression throughout the album adds a highly rewarding new level. The bouncy opener ‘Roses All Around’ instantly showcases the band’s contemplatively peppy music, equal parts dusk and sunrise. Yet, as the record advances, the songs get gradually brighter, quietly adding new elements. In spite of the subtlety of this shift, the introduction of sparkly synths and twinkling guitars is highly effective. Reaching this particular, glistening climax with the one-two punch consisting of ‘Ducky’ and ‘Inverness’, the latter song brilliantly juxtaposes an irresistibly catchy synth melody with a driving bassline, compromising neither the band’s trademark somber atmosphere nor the album’s oddly upbeat qualities.

Yet, as wonderful as the full experience of Dead Kids R.I.P. City is, the individual songs are undeniably excellent as well. Once the record has accomplished its progression with the aforementioned ‘Inverness’, undeniable highlight ‘Oil Burner’ condenses all that makes Soft Kill great into a shoegaze-infused eight minutes. The song builds, calms down and restructures itself into a huge, nearly impenetrable wall of gorgeous sound, drowning out Tobias Graves’ voice to the point where the only distinguishable lyrics appear concretely applicable to the entire record: ‘...still next to you’. It’s ominous, simplistic and strangely poetic, guided by Graves’ voice. Elsewhere, on ‘Floodgate’, featured artist Tamaryn complements the singer’s dark, weathered tones beautifully as they lament: ‘I lay / Broken on the ground’. While it seems hardly worth noting outside of the context of the music, it works brilliantly wrapped within Soft Kill’s dense, driving instrumentals.

The only slight issue presents itself in the form of the closing track ‘I Needed the Pain’. While it can hardly be deemed a bad song, the acoustic guitars and violins are a tad saccharine with the song feeling out of place in the otherwise carefully constructed atmosphere of Dead Kids R.I.P. City. Thankfully, as it bookends the record, the damage done by the song is rather insignificant. Instead, reliving the highs of the infectious ‘Wanting War’ or pressing play on ‘Crimey’ yet again to experience its masterful entanglement of white noise with bright melodies seems all the more appealing.

This is precisely where Dead Kids R.I.P. City finds its strengths: it’s a highly listenable 47-minute experience, gently showing listeners a more invigorated, focused Soft Kill as it consistently adds novel elements to achieve shiny highs, while still allowing each song enough space to breathe and be highly distinguishable. As such, the band’s new album is not only their best as an overall experience; it also comprises some of the band’s best songs that manage to stand tall even without the immersive framework of Dead Kids R.I.P. City.



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user ratings (58)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2020


2180 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

helo this album is really good! check floodgate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGj45_y3i-s

Digging: Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou - The Helm Of Sorrow

Pheromone
November 23rd 2020


10635 Comments


will czech

Digging: Empress (UK) - Debut LP

AxeToFall93
November 23rd 2020


258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Adore this record. And this band in general. Possibly the best act of the entire Post Punk revival.

tectactoe
November 23rd 2020


3746 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice, was hoping someone would write a review for this. Almost immediately jumped into my Top 5 of the year. Great record. Lots of Cure vibes.

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2020


2180 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah i'd probably agree axe! they put on an amazing live show as well

sweet tec, i think this will rank highly for me as well

hel9000
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2020


918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice writeup Jesper, this is pretty cool so far.

Digging: Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks

Pheromone
November 23rd 2020


10635 Comments


best post punk revival is women and that is uncontested fact but imma check this

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2020


2180 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks hel!

i do like women yes

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2020


6287 Comments


yo nice rev Jesp, this sounds cool!


Digging: Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou - The Helm Of Sorrow

Slex
November 23rd 2020


10923 Comments


really liked the single i've heard, looking forward to giving this a listen

Digging: Seiko Oomori - Kintsugi

sixdegrees
November 24th 2020


10662 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

some of this is pretty wallpaper-y but I am vibing to Oil Burner

tectactoe
November 24th 2020


3746 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you say that like it’s a bad thing

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
November 24th 2020


2180 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hope you guys dig it!

wallpapers can be p neat but yeah oil burner is easily the best thing here

BeeRyan
November 24th 2020


1594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Inverness has been breaking me down every time, which is super rare for me. Would also agree that the closer would have to be my least favorite part but it's a nice left turn and they do alright with it

hel9000
Contributing Reviewer
November 24th 2020


918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Second half of this was great, could see my rating go up with more spins.

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
November 24th 2020


2180 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah they streamed this a few days early and it has already grown on me a whole lot since then! excited to see how this'll hold up in the future, but with how expansive/textured this is i expect good things

Sunnyvale
November 25th 2020


1898 Comments


Rip City! Go Blazers

Never heard of this band, but immediately checked to see if they're from Oregon, and sure enough...


sixdegrees
November 25th 2020


10662 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

its not really touched on in this review, but its a concept album of sorts set in Portland:



https://anopendoor.bandcamp.com/album/dead-kids-r-i-p-city

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2020


2180 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah each song representing a different character of sorts is pretty cool! it's pretty easy to ignore the concept tho, and i have like 0 knowledge of portland so that seemed a bit more apt lol

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2020


2180 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ass

a - mazing

s - ick

s - uperb



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