CD: Soft Metals - Lenses | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Soft Metals - Lenses
Desolate and diffuse but frequently seductive electronics from Los Angeles-based duo
A disembodied, wispy female voice declares “this is not true”, the only emotion left a resignation so acute she may as well be contemplating her imminent demise. On Soft Metals’ “Tell me”, her deliberation is accompanied by electronic music drawing from the pulse Giorgio Moroder created for Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”, 20 Jazz Funk Greats-era Throbbing Gristle, French cold wave and the drifting vapourousness of the early Orb. On the next track, “When I Look Into Your Eyes”, she sighs “we all die”.
Patricia Hall and Ian Hicks, the Portland-formed and now Los Angeles-based duo who operate as Soft Metals, can’t be accused of being cheery sorts but the atmosphere they create is attractive and enfolds the listener – albeit desolately. Lenses is their second album, the follow-up to 2011’s eponymous debut. Although it's sonically fuller than its predecessor, there are few surprises. They know what they’re doing, and it’s more about mood and texture than actual songs. This means their absorption with what they’ve created can lead to tracks sometimes lacking focus. After initially seeming hypnotic, the album’s techno-styled instrumental closer “Interobserver” meanders just too long to hold the attention.
Although well conceived and frequently seductive, Lenses is – like Hall’s vocals – often too diffuse and plays as though born in a lab. With much of the album hard to grasp onto and the surfeit of female-voiced duos where the male half seemingly handles all the electronics, Soft Metals are going to have a tough time multiplying their audience.
Watch the video for “Tell Me”, from Soft Metals’s Lenses
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Garvey and friends probe deeper into the human condition
Punk perennials veer towards the moody with mixed results
Unspectacular third effort fails to stand out from the crowd
Bastille's breakthrough gig was a well-mannered affair without a trace of bad blood
Triumphant return of Neue Slowenische Kunst
The musical undead walk amongst us in this prog-rock evocation of dark London
Cinematic Arab vistas with a rock sensibility
The superstar diva from Houston, Texas, thunders into London in epic style
Southern rockers find their country soul again
Sublime pairing of virtuoso guitarists who bestride much of jazz and related genres
Musical recluse returns with a nearly decent album
Can Belgians resurrect a much-maligned British style?