by Ryan Haughey
Vancouver’s Dead Soft have released several EPs and singles since their self-titled debut album. Their second full-length LP is full of grit and force, with shades of delicate beauty. Big Blue is a fresh take on the alternative-punk trend in today’s rock music.
Thoughtful melodies are accent to crunching guitar tones that blast through simplistic, raw chord progressions to create memorable moments throughout the album. Boxy bass tones barrel along with the clear, consistent vocal melodies and tasteful harmonies.
The opening track “I Believe You” builds a ladder of subtle guitar parts that stretch over the distorted groundwork laid out by the rest of the instrumentation, climbing with the rhythms and counter-rhythms toward a screeching, feedbacky drop-off. The chorus on “Tulips” is made majestic by the soft harmonies, while dreamily delivered lyrics paint a sad but realistic vision of luck and death.
The second half of the record is full of quiet cadence, making way for pretty vocal performances. “Whatever I Want” features some cleaner guitar lines, but when the crunch punches back in, it hits harder than ever.
Big Blue tells several stories both through clear lyrics and vivid melodies. Sometimes, at the end of a phrase, the final chord in the progression is held for dramatic sustain – which is where Dead Soft shines: building subdued tension and breaking it down with graceful resolve.