Bury St. Edmunds’ The Soft take pride in re-igniting what they like to call some of the “darkest synth music from the last 20 years”. When you listen, beneath the thick wall of synthetics there is an evident amount of dark undertone; within their songs you feel a tense atmosphere simmering beneath the surface. But it’s not merely synth music that The Soft speak through – a few minutes spent on their Soundcloud and you discover hints of shoegaze, light electronica, ambience.
So the mysterious producer/group behind The Soft has a diverse array of ideas. Any album that comes from this project, you would expect, would harbour the kind of head-throbbing, choked electronics of ‘Soft’ and ‘Braided Flowers’; solid constructions of synth, soaring guitars. The opposite would be ‘Mind Fuck’, which diverges from its title and explores a less harsh technique, deep vocals bordering on whimpering, electronics evolving but remaining faint and gentle. It’s a sound that actually suits The Soft far more than the former – it retains the “darkness” that they yearn to honour, giving it distance from other peaceful electronic music, remaining very haunting all the same.
In ‘Mind Fuck’ and similarly ‘Sylvia’, you picture deserted cathedrals, overcast skies, and the British autumn. There’s something quintessentially English about some of these songs; despite replicating many elements of electronic artists worldwide, it’s when the vocals arrive that you begin to emote and associate yourself with the bleakness of these songs. The vocals are British; flawed but charmingly so, noticeable at the very least.
Sylvia by The Soft