Not too long ago we told you the Muslims changed their name to the Soft Pack. That’s true enough and was likely a good move because now folks can actually concentrate on the music, but it doesn’t change the San Diego quartet’s BTW status. In fact, proving themselves quite literally a Band To Watch, the guys stopped by the Decomposed studios to offer a stripped-down take on their spare and somehow cuddly Strokes-y, Heartbreakers/Voidoids-inspired garage punk.
It’s interesting hearing vocalist Matt Lamkin deliver those laid-back, playfully nihilistic lines (“I’ve got news for you / Yes, I’ve got news for you / I don’t owe anything to you”) over acoustic guitars and upright bass. He’s even more liike a preppy Iggy Pop than usual. When we initially wrote about the Soft Pack, we mentioned their Velvet Underground-style detachment: At Decomposed, they add VU-style standup drums to that insularity. We’d also brought up the Replacements. You get less of that here sonically, but it’s hard to deny the early Westerberg/T. Stinson bedhead. The band is always spare, but these takes on “Call It A Day” and “Extinction” along with a cover of Tijuana Panthers’ “Redheaded Girl” add an especial concision. Unplugged, their post punk hooks contain a certain raw power, if you’ll excuse the pun. Who needs amps?
Photos by Wayne Ford