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
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.
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