|There was a period last summer when I could hardly engage in a conversation without The Soft Explosions being mentioned as a band I HAD TO SEE. And this was usually pushed by members of this city’s hipper bands. I been on this scene a long time now, and it’s pretty rare for the typical ego-centric rocker to encourage me to check out someone else. The strength of the song samples on the band’s website further pushed the issue.
The tremolo-enhanced guitar of Irina Yalkowsky set the reverberating pace when I finally caught them at the Luna Lounge, but vocalist/guitarist David James Kulund is the focal point, while brother Nicky Kulund provides the blues-heavy beats and Dave Stahl anchors it all down with solid bass runs. Live, their songs remain well-crafted pieces and the band plays with an intensity that is often lacking on the current indie scene. Yet, as powerful as it was, it all sounded very familiar to me.
Though they’re a NYC band, The Soft Explosions have their roots in the Boston music scene and their sound is descended from that city’s earliest days of alternative music. They may not be directly quoting from 70s Boston bands like The Real Kids, The Neighborhoods, La Peste and to some extent DMZ (all of whom my own band gigged with when I resided in that city), but they have at the very least picked up on the vibe of the groups that followed those original ones. Not many bands from Boston haven’t. The difference being The Soft Explosions use that somewhat pop-driven garage sound heritage as a base and add a bit of soul, a bit of country and a whole bunch of blues to make it uniquely their own.
They’ve got a great new 7” of “Ride Between The Eyes” b/w Desert’s Gold” (along with accompanying 4-song CD, including their signature “Reverberate [Let It All Start]’) released on Canarsie and a full album is in the works. You can check out more at their website.
|Commentary and illustrations by Jeff Rey
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|THE SOFT EXPLOSIONS
7" vinyl "Ride Between the Eyes"
bundled with 4-song CD