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The Softies
Holiday in Rhode Island

Never before have I reviewed a band so appropriately named. The Softies are soft indeed. In this instance that's good, because Holiday In Rhode Island is far away from Holiday in Cambodia in furor as well as geography. This Portland, OR duo's fourth album is a dreamy, though minimalist, collection of acoustic poetry. Now I'm a big rock and roll guy. Okay, I'll just get that out of the way but I have found times when I like to listen to bands like Ivy and Mojave 3. If you're into that vibe then you'll more than likely enjoyHoliday in Rhode Island.

The first cut, "Sleep Away Your Troubles," is one off the strongest songs on the album. For better or worse though the sound doesn't change much after that. Throughout the album there is a keen awareness of harmony and subtle use of guitar. Rose Melberg and Jennifer Sbragia are the Softies. There are no other band members. They don't seem to need them either. Lyrically this is very strong material, especially, the "Places We Go" and "The Beginning Of The End." And with only a few exceptions they are able to give most of the songs their own musical signatures. My personal favorite is "Me And The Bees." Maybe because it features not guitars but a really nice slow piano piece and some brushed drums. It's a different effect and it really resonates something in me that I can't quite place my finger on. The vocals, as beautiful and ethereal as they are, don't really change much in intensity on the album, though the range is obviously there. On the whole, it'svery nice work.

If you're looking for the new kick ass in your face rock and roll keep looking because you will be bored out of your skull. This is mellow stuff and it's not destined to get your blood pumped up but that's by design. This is not the kind of music that is going to be embraced by the masses. It's niche music. You won't be hearing this on your corporate-top-40-radio-posing-as-"alternative" radio station. If, however, you're looking for some beautifully penned lyrics and thoughtful acoustic music to just chill out to then The Softies need to get some tray time in yourCD player.


Track Listing:

1. Sleep Away Your Troubles

2. The Places We Go

3. These Sad Times

4. The Beginning of the End

5. Just a Day

6. Me and the Bees

7. Holiday in Rhode Island

8. Favorite Shade of Blue

9. You and Only You

10. Sturdies Bay

11. Saint Agnes

12. If You Stayed

13. Write it Down

14. My Empty Arms

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