Softcult
Year Of The Snake


3.0
good

Review

by Teal USER (19 Reviews)
February 18th, 2022 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: House of two-way mirrors.

Softcult is the budding project of twin sisters Mercedes and Phoenix Arn-Horn. Formed in late 2020 as a side project to their main band, Courage My Love, Softcult wasted little time releasing debut extended play Year Of The Rat months later before rapidly readying a follow-up batch of tracks to continue the Chinese Zodiac theme. Across the six songs and nearly twenty-minute runtime of second extended play Year Of The Snake, the duo wrap listeners up in hazy, guitar-driven melodies and concise, catchy songwriting intent on sinking hooks – er, fangs - into memories long after the final faint drumbeat of “Uzumaki” slithers away.

Lead track, “BWBB”, unfurls with a grungy bassline, snarling guitar leads, and a driving drumbeat as Mercedes sarcastically moans, “Boys will be boys/will be boys/will be boys” in a snarling rally against “…gender violence and the double standard, hypocrisy and dissonance of the ’bro code’”. While the song is equal parts memorable and thought provoking, it’s also the least interesting side of Softcult sonically because the twins truly captivate when they coil up and slow down instead of simply striking out in frustration.

Standout track “House of Mirrors” fades in slowly before giving way to a delirious wall of sound as the duo envelops ears with a massive shimmering chorus that is just as intimate as Taylor Swift’s “mirrorball” as it is massive akin to Teenage Wrist’s “Stoned, Alone”. Weave in the floating tenors of the Arn-Horn twins on top and Softcult would probably playing arenas already if this song was released on radio in the mid-nineties. “Perfect Blue” slows the tempo down further, gliding along in a moody blur, yet providing just enough vocal dynamics and intriguing guitar leads to prevent listeners from slipping into a trance. Closer “Uzumaki” explores “…the cycle of abuse, and the trauma that it leaves behind” pairing hushed, defeated verses and a charging, desperate chorus that alternate before that final aforementioned drumbeat retreats into silence.

Year Of The Snake, while imperfect, showcases the promise and the continued growth of Softcult as songwriters. While energizing at moments, the duo’s louder, more aggressive material could use a bit more refinement to become less predictable and simplistic. That said, when the twins drop their guard and explore their introspective side the results are simply breathtaking. Here’s to hoping Softcult pick Year Of The Dragon for the title of their next release because if they keep penning songs like “House of Mirrors” it’s only a matter of time before this duo takes flight.



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user ratings (22)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Teal
February 18th 2022


590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Citing my source for the meanings of "BWBB" and "Uzumaki":

https://www.upsetmagazine.com/features/track-by-track-softcult-year-of-the-snake-ep

Also, here is "House of Mirrors" for ya'll:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3TLB446FHw

Much love and thank you for reading.

ghostxmosh
February 18th 2022


33 Comments


No loathe cover no care

Teal
February 18th 2022


590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haha, I mean it’s still there. Just with a new chorus to make it less of a cover.

Tundra
February 18th 2022


9275 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Courage My Love also has many naysayers so unsurprised by the reception this is getting

Teal
February 18th 2022


590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What do you think is the cause for the hate, Tundra? I can understand the Loathe controversy tripping them up for a second, but it’s clear the twins are very talented and know how to write a quality song.

Also, thank you for the feature, powers that be.

Tundra
February 18th 2022


9275 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Her delivery is bland, something like that, whatever... I beg to differ. This seems to being received better on RYM.

Teal
February 18th 2022


590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Her delivery is bland? Gimme a break.

Purpl3Spartan
February 21st 2022


8134 Comments


Good band, need to check this

Nice review as always

Asura14
February 21st 2022


507 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is quite nice, whats the connection with Loathe tho? I haven't been following this at all.... I saw an article but the single attached is not available anymore so I can't tell how much (or not) of a rip-off it is

Teal
February 21st 2022


590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks, Purple. Always appreciate it!

Asura, Softcult came under fire after the original version of “Uzumaki” was originally released because it sounded verrrrrry similar to Loathe’s “Two-Way Mirror”. Almost too similar. Nonetheless, they reworked it and it’s just as good if not better than the previous version in my opinion.

Asura14
February 22nd 2022


507 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ah thanks Teal, kind of makes me curious about the original track though.



Anyway, I knew nothing about this band and the twins, glad I came across this review

Teal
February 23rd 2022


590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I can't find the original song, but here's a comparison video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqT3mKZR1zM&t=535s

Tundra
February 23rd 2022


9275 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Maybe they did plagiarize and if so it's the first time I've seen them doing it. In Courage My Love there is great songwriting there so I dont see why they would even need to plagiarize. I'm not gonna lie it is shady though, in the new version of Uzumaki they show that they didnt even need to plagiarize to make the song great. I'm just so confused about this whole situation. Why did they feel the need to do this in the first place, I dont understand.

Teal
February 23rd 2022


590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Completely agree. They clearly have talent. No need for this type of thing to happen again (or at all). All they have to do is keep cranking out quality tunes.

Asura14
February 23rd 2022


507 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Teal, there are some pretty obvious similarities but as a person who really enjoys that specific Loath album I 'm not sure this is a blatant rip-off. It's hard to tell with music whats purposely influenced and what just happens organically from consuming music in general...



I'd be fine with them saying it was a heavy influence (purposeful or not) and reaching out to Loath, but the approach they took seems fine, I really like that track as is

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
March 13th 2022


5347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

finally got around to this, cheers for the rec asura!

it's v good but also leaves a lot of room for improvement, def a whole lot more enjoyable than courage my love tho

Tundra
March 13th 2022


9275 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"def a whole lot more enjoyable than courage my love tho"

nope, Courage My Love is just as good as this.

Asura14
March 14th 2022


507 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I also prefer this to courage my love and thats the beauty of subjectivity... was pleasantly surprised with this release



no problem Jesp

Teal
March 17th 2022


590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Looks like they’re writing or recording their debut full length right now. Also discovered “Birds” the other day. What a pretty/dark song. I love the little bass run at the end.

Tundra
March 17th 2022


9275 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

well, you can place these two EP's together and get an LP feel already from it, nonetheless, hyped for album



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