Supergroups usually suck. Members fighting over who has the bigger ego and clashes of creativity can often cause what once sounded like an awesome idea to turn into something foul. Then there are the exceptions. One of these recently landed on my desk, a little EP from a band that goes by the name Soft Complex. The Washington, DC group is made up of five people - a vocalist, guitarist, drummer, bassist and cellist - who have all been in various bands in the past; Burning Airlines, Phaser and Trixie Delicious. Additionally they also have loaned their talents for Engine Down, Two If By Sea and a few others along the way.
It starts off with the totally Smiths influenced title track, "Barcelona." Something about the guitar work in this tune screams Johnny Marr, but also has a hint of The Cure. The new wave inspired tunes continue with "Sad Note," a song that also channels the spirit of Postal Service/Dntel with the sporadic use of bloops and bleeps. As you might expect, the lyrics in the songs stay close to the bands' sound. They range from loss to hopeless romance, as heard in mopey-but-dancy "Beat The Chill." Speaking of dance, the EP boasts five remixes (three of "Barcelona", and one each of "Sad Note" and "Beat The Chill") that would be perfect for all those hipster dance parties that the Cobrasnake tends to hang out at while taking snaps.
Honestly, I wasn't expecting much at all from the EP but I was totally curious because I used to love Phaser when I was a college music director back in the day. Much to my surprise, I actually really dug it. There are a bunch of bands out there that are trying to recreate the whole new wave sound, and it's nice to hear one that is actually doing it correctly, especially when it is a supergroup of sorts.
"Barcelona" (Right click, Save as)
Silverthree Sound Recordings