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The Soft Pack: The Soft Pack

The Soft Pack. Photo / Supplied
The Soft Pack. Photo / Supplied

Rating: 3/5
Verdict: Infectious US guitar pop-rock which connects with Dunedin and elsewhere.

And we thought Shihad had a controversial name post-9/11? This alt.pop four-piece based in Los Angeles used to be called The Muslims. The flipside of their first single was Walking With Jesus.

So let's give them points in their efforts to get a headline.

This, their debut album, however, steers a straight-ahead course between enjoyably fiery indie rock and garage band power pop, frill-free riffery and snappy pop economy where nothing breaks the three, let alone four, minute mark.

Singer Matt Lamkin delivers a smart line of monotone anger, while on material like Pull Out they come off like a meltdown of Joy Division monochrome gloom and early Chills. More or Less brings to mind the Chills/Sneaky Feelings in its guitar jangle and driving-pop ethis.

So yes, you can tick off the familiar in their sound - but they play out pop and rock history as if they've just discovered this noise for themselves, and Lankham brings youthful disaffection to his slightly sneered lyrics. When they slow the pace for Mexico with its slewing guitars you can guess next time out they'll have more of their own to offer. But this will do nicely - when played loud - for now.

-Graham Reid elsewhere.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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