Soft Rocks

The Curse of Soft Rocks

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At the forefront of the British nu-disco scene, Brighton collective Soft Rocks throw something of a curve ball for their debut album proper, The Curse of Soft Rocks, by embracing the worlds of dub and ambient new age to provide one of the most intriguing downtempo efforts of the year. Released less than a year after Disco Powerplay, a collection of their most cherished edits of '70s dancefloor obscurities, the vinyl obsessives make a few concessions to their more familiar sound, such as "Magic Milk," an alternative love song that recalls X-Press 2's "Lazy" thanks to Jorge Socarras' David Byrne-esque delivery, and the steel drum-led funk of "Talking Jungle." But the majority of the record is bathed in a languid and dreamy production suggesting that the quartet's inspirations have now moved on a decade, as on the Sade-esque tribal jazz-pop of "Thunder Thunder" and the soulful '80s groove of "Little Lights," both of which are fronted by Nesreen Shah (best known for her contribution to Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders' Late Night Tales mixtape), the Middle Eastern-tinged lovers rock of opener "We Hunt Buffalo Now," and the percussive nu-synth instrumental "Slowdown." With every single one of its 11 tracks clocking in at over five minutes, the album occasionally begins to run out of steam, particularly on the left-field Latin pop of "Mirador de las Estrellas" and the meandering pan pipe sounds of "Obo." But on the whole, The Curse of Soft Rocks is a daring and unexpected foray into chillout territory that proves to be anything but cursed.

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