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Soft Arrows – 'Overlapping Lives'

26/04/2013 By Nick Jarrett

softarrowsBrighton two piece Tom Denney and Russell Eke, better known as Soft Arrows, release their follow up to last year’s debut album All Through The Sinew this coming Monday. The band take the old adage, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ in terms of their no haste, no waste recording process – 10 tracks recorded in a matter of two days. Musically they do not stray too far from the line either, but Overlapping Lives eschews the more melodic moments from the former in order to create something a little more atmospheric, and dare I say it, terrifying.

Opening with ‘Figure 8’; crunching post-modern noise that descends into a battle cry of garage rock intent with screams and industrial guitars layered over piercing drums. The imagery of suffocation in the lyrics is an apt tribute to the album as a whole – an unspoken, almost sinister threat pervades throughout; “These are the strangest days I have known” guitarist and vocalist Tom Denney laments on ‘Divining Rod’ as the record picks up pace. Indeed it is in the middle of the album where Soft Arrows hit top form, standout track ‘Dry Heaves’ follows, a gloriously off-kilter and rather touching homage to a lost love. Denney wails “And I know” as the music builds, shimmers and crashes around him, the heart breaking in the process. It leaves its mark long after the music fades out. The album clatters along, with jerky rhythm and an increasing sense of agitation, ending with ‘Flightless Birds’. Here the atmosphere is allowed to breathe into another slow build which takes all of the component pieces from the previous 9 tracks and thrashes them through a lawnmower. It’s suitably demented, and enjoyable.

In Overlapping Lines, Soft Arrows make a bed of sparse, lo-fi, DIY sound, pockmarked with confused, discordant noise. It’s not a wholly comfortable listen and the off-beat sparks fail to ignite at times as the immediacy that songs like ‘Undercard’ and ‘Skin Cycle’ have in a live setting is found meandering and slightly lost on the record. However, when they go for it, Soft Arrows go for it and that is when they shine.

Overlapping Lines is out on Monday 30th September on Edils Recordings and is available, I assume, from all self-respecting record stores. Listen to our favourite track, Dry Heaves, on the band’s soundcloud page.