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Soft Return

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, May 25, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

2010 solo album from Grovesnor AKA Rob Smoughton, drummer for Hot Chip. With a soft voice and an aching heart, Grovesnor--the troubadour who looks "like a teacher but sings like Usher"--makes the beats to move your feet. Grovesnor loves a good tune and a crisp rhythm. Although undeniably influenced by pop of the '80s, Grovesvenor's music has something supremely modern about it. There are echoes of Hall & Oates and Billy Joel, but also Daft Punk and The Flaming Lips. Soft Return is an audio movie where the surface sheen hides a bruised heart. Like the Coppola film One From The Heart, Grovesnor's songs are full of soft-focus imagery and fine performances. It's a unique blend of future Pop.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Turn Your Radio Up
  2. Taxi from the Airport
  3. Dan
  4. Nitemoves
  5. Find a Way to Stop Him
  6. Dragon Tree
  7. Soft Return
  8. No Doubt About It
  9. When I Saw You Dance
  10. I Heard Violins
  11. Cuckolded


Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 25, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Lo Recordings
  • ASIN: B003B30GHU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,940 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By G. Castleberry on September 7, 2010
Verified Purchase
On Soft Return, an enjoyable homage to light rock and blue eyed soul of the early 80s, Grovesnor offers an album's worth of 80s romantic comedy soundtrack singles which his band skillfully delivers with authenticity, often besting the material of source inspiration. For those who like modern electronic indie music and are also fans of bands like Hall and Oates, this album is a pleasing development.

The hooks, melodies and musical arrangements hint at the likes of Christoper Cross, Steely Dan, Michael McDonald, and a host of light 80s clichés, with a good dose of Squeeze for coolness. Musically, the only concession to modernity is the occasional beat that is a bit too Hot Chip to believe you would've heard it in an 80s dance club. The song lyrics alternate between amusing and lovelorn, sometimes both, but always romantic. This formula plays pretty well over all, even when the second half of the album isn't as solid as the first.

The deal-breaker for many listeners will be the cheese factor. The artist can't help but bring some cheesiness to a record devoted to the sounds of 80s light rock, and the concepts play out best when that is balanced with a well written, well performed song. Dan, which is an album highlight, brings over-the-top cheese, but the earnest performance and catchy songwriting are so spot-on that the light goofiness is acceptable - not to mention the gritty guitar solo brings some much needed heft right when the light rock seems fragile enough to blow away. On the other hand, a few filler tracks don't have the hooks or catchiness to fully overcome their inherent cheese, reminding the listener why this musical sub-genre hasn't inspired many copycats. That is okay though as it seems the point of the whole affair is to revel in that groove, and even the near misses sound good amidst so many could-have-been hits.
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