Soft Cat – “Somebody” (Stereogum Premiere)

Soft Cat are a hugely underrated folk act out of Baltimore who caught my ear back in 2013 with Lost No Labor. After two years, they are releasing their third album, All Energy Will Rise, on April 7 via Miscreant/Father Daughter Records. Today we’re premiering “Somebody” as the first taste of All Energy Will Rise, an appeal to our endless search for intimacy, even when it’s an unspecified desire.

At the epicenter of Soft Cat is Neil Sanzgiri, whose songs unfurl like ribbons, needling you with each new element: horns, flutes, cello, violin, banjo, and classical and electric guitar. Just days after the release of Lost No Labor in 2013, a fire devastated the artist-run gallery, performance venue, and library known as Open Space, where most of the musicians involved in Soft Cat lived. With seventeen members of this artistic collective now effectively displaced, and the recent death of a friend looming heavy, Sanzgiri relocated to a farm to work on new music. These circumstances fueled his songwriting, and “Somebody” feels especially laden with grief, as the whirring, urgent strings fade into quieter vocal melodies.

The album was recorded in full by Craig Bowen at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, a historic cathedral in downtown Baltimore (which looks like this). Soft Cat’s fusion of folk, new age, and classical composition will be familiar to fans of Mutual Benefit, and the two toured together in the fall of 2014. Check out the full tracklist for the new album below.

All Energy Will Rise tracklist:
01 “Opening”
02 “Somebody”
03 “New Song”
04 “Old Song”
05 “Diana”
06 “Instrumental 2″
07 “Field Gap (For Chris Marker)”
08 “Desert Eyes”
09 “A Disturbance on the Surface of a Body of Water”
10 “All Energy Will Rise”
11 “Instrumental 1″

All Energy Will Rise is out on 4/7 via Miscreant/Father Daughter Records.

[Photo by Daniel Dorsa.]