Soft Metals have garnered quite a bit of hype and love from the internet recently, even here, on this very blog. Now with their first official release, the debut EP The Cold War Melts sees the duo try to live up to that blog pressure with five tracks that run through a dark club land of Italo disco and cold wave to brooding late night dance floors and housey synth fueled nostalgia for a night out at club that never really existed.
The Cold War Melts starts with the brilliant “Love or Music”, a track full of grooving drum machine claps and slow achingly retro synths stances, when the vocal hits it’s drenched in all that echo and reverb you’d expect from an Italo disco track from ’83 but it’s got a surprising dynamism that stops it from being too spacey and brings the pop element in with a vengeance, properly nice. To go from there would take something impressive and track two manages it with the EPs title track which bursts into life with dark and throbbing synths that beat out a rhythm that the Predator would stalk you to, it’s a great dance floor tune all acid squelches, posing in the dark, lasers painting lines though smoke and after work execs chatting on phones the size of bricks.
By the third track the late night, trip out on the dance floor vibe is firmly established and you can settle into the pop hooks and epic female vocals drifting serenely over everything. Then we hit up what I find most annoying on albums (and especially EPs), the instrumental track. And sure it’s nice enough and would maybe be fine on a release with more songs but I just can’t help feel instrumentals are included as filler, especially when the rest of the songs have such a pop sensibility about them. The final track “Another Goodbye” brings things back with a glacial New Order via Patrick Cowley feel, slow and seductive with vocals like a valium dosed 1983 Madonna.
This is the sort of release that can be enjoyed via headphones on a rain soaked day as much as on the dance floor of a smoke filled club. The EP’s heavy Italo sound will I’m sure draw obvious comparisons to Johnny Jewel’s recent work. But what sets this apart from Glass Candy, Chromatics and Desire is that Jewel has never worked with a vocalist as confidant as Patricia Furpurse nor released 5 tracks quite as dancefloor ready as these.
Fans familiar with Soft Metals will have no doubt heard these five tracks via their soundcloud and Myspace page for quite some time now but they’re a band that’s very much deserving a wider audience and an official vinyl release. So while I enjoyed this EP quite a bit, I’m at the point where I’m dying to hear newer material my ears haven’t yet fully devoured. But for the rest of you who will undoubtedly first be introduced to Soft Metals via this EP you’ll find a dark, imposing and even epic release that once over will have you where I’m already at… eagerly awaiting what’s next.