In June 2019, Soft On Crime released a compelling debut with In The Terranium – five small nuggets of jangling garage-pop modestly presented as a cassette release. Immediately apparent was that this thing deserved a less ephemeral format. It would have been a killer 7”, and the economics of taking such risks with a new project was undoubtedly contemplated, but the humble tape was the hand-me-down tech it ended up with, for better or worse.
Fast forward almost a year and a half, and we finally have a vinyl release of 3 new tracks, something that seems like the perfect vehicle for what the current tag-line describes as “Short sharp melodic psych-pop, with hooks, fizz and splash”… and that’s exactly what we’re getting here…
You’ve Already Made Up Your Mind is an upbeat and crunchy piece of power pop, utilising every precious second of its brief duration in terms of incisive arrangement and songwriting quality. Musically, there are elements that echo the gloriously imperfect guitar chops of certain Good Vibrations bands, but this is in a slightly different lane and strives for something that reaches far beyond chirpy historic punk-pop.
As with the material on the 2019 cassette, Soft On Crime’s bedrock is much more of a 60’s garage thing, and where it might seem to lock into an energetic and driving immediacy, it can quickly switch to a sort of pastoral psychedelia, as is evident on the second track, Rubyanne. This has an understated delivery that veers towards the stylistic dwindle of related band Dinah Brand on a basic level, but the horn embellishments serve to render the song with a distinct psych vintage. It’s very similar sonic territory to what Natalie Prass did so brilliantly on her self-titled debut before discarding it all for something more modern and throwaway. In terms of where it fits into what Soft On Crime has presented us so far, it’s a standout track suggesting a wide range of possibilities moving forward.
Little 8 Track takes up the entire flipside of the record and is the longest track here at 4:49. Again, this is a different side of the band, a kind of downbeat country-tinged thing with layered vocals and a multitude of subtle guitar parts carefully designed to sound like they’re hanging out in the song rather than leading it.
This EP presents contrasting but complementary ideas bundled together in a running time that barely reaches the 10-minute mark. What Soft On Crime has delivered demonstrates a scope that reminds me of the sort of thing Andwella’s Dream was doing in the late 60’s – It’s resolutely garage and psychedelic, branching out in several directions but still working as a cohesive and hugely creative endeavour.
High-quality stuff – maddeningly drip-fed to us in small portions!!