There are a lot of ways a group can celebrate the release of their album - a listening party, a special invitation concert or a media tour. Soft Pack played 10 L.A. shows (traveling from venue to venue on a bus fuelled by vegetable oil) in 13 hours to promote their '10 self-titled full-length debut. The local tour, which started at 10:30 am, ended with a 45-minute set at Nomad Gallery near Dodger Stadium, before the largest crowd of the day.
Soft Pack was founded by Matt Lamkin and Matty McLoughlin in San Diego. "We wanted to start a band that played simple, catchy, smart Rock songs," said Lamkin. "There weren't many bands in San Diego doing that at the time. So we did." They originally called themselves The Muslims, a name that brought more trouble than it was worth, even for a retro-Punk band that had relocated to L.A. So they became Soft Pack.
The group issued a couple EPs (including one under The Muslims moniker). Along the way they were a highlight of CMJ ('08) and South By Southwest-SXSW ('09) which led to opening slots on major tours (Franz Ferdinand and Phoenix) and their "Soft Pack" album. "Answer To Yourself" and "C'mon" were the first two singles.
First, there was Punk. Then came post-Punk power pop, which proved remarkably durable. Out of that flowed post-power pop Punk - and that's where Soft Pack reside. Lantzman and Hill either play fast or hit hyper-drive ("Move Along" and "Flammable") under McLoughlin's hard edged chords. And Lamkin manages to hang some appealing melodies on his lyrics.
For a change-up, the noisy "Down On Loving" has a great guitar solo while the captivating "Mexico" rides a slow bass groove and a jangling guitar.
While not groundbreaking ("C'Mon") or terribly innovative, Soft Pack does play with an exuberance that puts them over.