Customer Reviews: The Soft Pack
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on February 3, 2010
This is definitely one of the most refreshing releases in a while. The Soft Pack, a band from the west coast has made it with a stunning album. Parasites, great song by the way, had been airing on alternative radio stations for months but it was nowere available. It is finally included along with 9 more great songs. This self titled album has a poweful combination of rough, basic, unpretentious sound. Back to the roots. Hey, and heads up ... they're giving us for free (for a limited time?) the complete MP3 download of "answer to yourself", which I think is the album's definitive favorite, so go for it while still available, but I'd recommend to get the whole album. Way to go, guys!
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on March 12, 2010
Good to hear that some young dudes in the US are listening to some good old garage rock with their guitar amps turned to 11 on the treble/reverb. Guys who like music but could probably work with you in the office doing some boring desk job, but with a side that not everyone at the workplace knows about.

The Drums have had some success with their phenomenal single "Let's Go Surfing". Album is good, but at times too poppy. Surfer Blood will be discussed in a later post about their great "Astro Coast" album. Their "Swim" single is currently riding high in the Explorer 23.

Two weeks ago the Soft Pack played a very short and energetic show in the Paradiso upstairs room (That's in Amsterdam). 40 minutes, almost no breaks, loud and fast and with no encore. That is rock and roll like it should be.

Their self-titled debut-album is a wonderful collection of garagesurfrock. Starting with the single 'C'mon' (sing along everyone!) and 9 other great tracks the album clocks just over half an hour. Perfect length for this type of music. There's great rhythm and some nice twangy guitar riffs. And of course the surf-organ is present adding some authenticity to the record.

Garage Rock and surf rock prop up about every 15 years and it's good to see that a music style that is based on just a few chords and an abundance of energy still lasts and is still reinvented to fit the 21st century. Drums, Soft Pack and Surfer Blood are certainly doing that. Going to be the summer of surf!
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on December 22, 2015
**Review originally appeared at

The Soft Pack have been hyped in the music press for some time now. The San Diego foursome have been the subject of NME articles dating back over a year prior to this debut release, when they were still known as The Muslims – a name that they were wise to drop. Over the past decade we’ve seen a lot bands live up to the pre-debut hype (The Strokes, Vampire Weekend, Franz Ferdinand), and others who couldn’t (is anyone still listening to The Vines?) and lost whatever forward momentum the press had given them. So, the obvious question is “where do the Soft Pack stand in all of this”? Do they deserve all this hype? The answer is a rather tricky one, I’m afraid. The album is an attack of taught rhythms, concise high-energy songs, and brash singing. Certainly they’ve written ten very good songs, and it’s hard to find anything to dislike in the half hour the albums plays for. I especially like the way singer Matt Lamkin works a few Ian MacKaye moves into his vocals and how the band goes for a Dischord-style sound on “Pull Out” (perhaps the work of producer, and DC-scene alumnus Eli Janney). The only problem is that, for the most part, they stick too closely to the Strokes template to make a big impact. I’d imagine that to the casual listener several of the songs (especially “Answer To Yourself”, “C’mon” and “More or Less”) could be passed off as holdovers from the sessions for Is This It, if slightly more punky and aggressive. If this was 2001-2003, when there was a ravenous demand for anything even remotely related to The Strokes, I’d say it would make the album a surefire success; but it seems a little out of step with where music is at in 2010. That may put the Soft Pack’s ability to catch on with the public at a bit of a disadvantage, but it shouldn’t take away from their music, which is fun, confident and probably better than anything the bands who influenced them are capable of putting out this year.
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on March 3, 2010
Made a nice discovery with The Soft Pack today. Energetic and well played, this album entertains with consistent energy throughout. I find some similarities with early (and rocking) REM, both in their harmonies and energy, but there are also hints of alt rock (Aztec Camera, Cure,), surf punk, ska, 60s garage rock... this album has a lot to offer. Every song has a great hook, such that it's easier to remember the music than it is the name of the band.
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The Soft Pack sound like they're stepping straight out of a time capsule from the late 70s or early 80s with their straight forward garage sound. This is technically the band's debut album, but in reality the band has a short previous existence as "The Muslims". Once renamed into the Soft Pack, a couple of catchy singles were released (and the early Muslims stuff re-released).

"The Soft Pack" (10 tracks; 32 min.) starts off with the catchy "C'Mon", reminding me of the Von Bondies' even catchier "C'mon C'mon" of a few years ago. The songs come fast and furious at you. "Down on Loving" and "Pull Out" are great. But the album truly comes to life on the second half. "More Or Less", my favorite track of the album, reminds me of some of those sullen yet irresistible songs from the Smiths. "Tides of Times" is in the same vein. "Flammable" is a bit too fast for its own good. "Mexico" is the only pensive, even slow, track on here, which sets us up then for the mammoth closing track "Parasites" (the only track that already appeared on one of those earlier singles).

At 32 min., this album flashes by in no time. I've been playing this album countless times in the last month or so. I had the good fortune of catching these guys in concert at the Coachella music festival last month, and they put on one of the best sets of the entire 3 days for me. Just fantastic. Do not miss them if you have a chance to catch them live. Meanwhile, this album is highly recommended.
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on February 6, 2015
The debut album, by 'The Soft Pack', is refreshing, and vibrant. LOVE the song - "Answer to yourself"!!!!
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on March 31, 2010
Wow! I downloaded this album about one week ago. Now I'm hooked. This release represents what Rock n' roll is all about. Uptempo, raw, gritty production and no-holds barred pop. I do not like to make comparisons with other bands, but somethimes it is a necesary evil. These guys have learned from Ted Leo and the Buzzcocks that you can get your point across in a 2-3 minute catchy pop tune. Great find and Highly recommended!!
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on December 7, 2010
I agree they sound like early REM--especially some of the faster songs off Reckoning. But then they add some hints of the surf thing, which is done quite well. The first three songs are brilliant punk/pop gems. Nothing else on the album approaches these. I'm sure they're great live, would love to see them. If they put together another album that maintains the quality of C'Mon, Down on Loving, and Answer to Yourself, across all 10 songs, they'll be huge....
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on December 4, 2011
this album is just dismally mediocre. the singer has zero enthusiasm zero emotion zero heart in this fight. by allowing that to front your band the whole stigma rubs off on everyone else involved. it's very boring. they are also highly over rated, quite alot of folks dig this band but it seems to be a hipster quality liking (for style only) definatly not for quality.
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on February 13, 2010
Nothing new, but well done. At least they don't have beards. A little more low-fi than strictly necessary -- records sounded better than this in 1945. Whoever mastered the vinyl should be shot.
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