The Black Soft are an electro/pop/goth/indie duo based in New York, their intelligent and innovative sound can be described as nothing other than the beginning of a new musical movement; the neoclassical orchestral sounds submerged deep within an ocean of sharp pounding electro beats brings a sound like no other group could possibly get away with. Established in 2011 the duo have released two albums and several EPs, each more complicated and refined than the last, a rare trait in modern music. The upsettingly obscure band have become a large name in the fashion world, after creating several videos and tracks for runway shows, but shockingly, besides adverts featuring CB Robo (from Dynasty – Single) they have not yet risen to mainstream success.
The aptly named ‘Slow Burn’ is the duo’s second feature length album released on April 2nd 2014 on Terror of the Understood Records, with 12 tracks it is by far their longest release to date, statistically speaking this would suggest a few weak links? No, from start to finish the album is as entrancing as the duo themselves. With Depeche Mode-esque vocals, pounding beats and tribal style drums running throughout the entirety of the album it becomes one solid, unrelenting piece of art. Each song links effortlessly to the last, it does not play like a disc of several different tracks, there are no pauses, no hesitation, just a seamless, inspiring, intellectually fueled soundtrack to the revolution of the new age.
‘Diversion’ being the opening track, instantly drags the listener from whatever world they are living in and into the dramatically daring, haute couture world of The Black Soft; ‘Diversion’ is like a call to arms, the speech like introduction broken up with trademark multifaceted beats draws whoever is listening into the up and coming Black Soft army. It is a powerful entrance with a promise that the rest of the album shall be equally outstanding.
The haunting vocals and underlying rhythm of ‘Stay Away’ seem very familiar; although the duo are generally a million miles from anything else that one could ever imagine ‘Stay Away’ sounds almost identical to Depeche Mode at their best. Depeche Mode are a band that I don’t feel can ever be mimicked, they became, almost, a genre in their own right and anyone who can scarcely scrape into their category is worthy of a place in music history. Not only does ‘Stay Away’ live and breathe Depeche Mode but the track would be deserving of a spot on Delta Machine, it really reminds me of Depeche Mode’s ‘Broken‘.
The album also features a cover of Tears for Fears’ ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’, the song has recently been covered by world renowned pop sensation Lorde earlier this year; I feel that it is safe to say that The Black Soft’s rendition of the song is intimidatingly superior to that of Lorde’s. The song brings new life to the 80’s classic (originally released in 1985) and pays homage to one of the greatest bands of all times, allowing their song to transcend genres and be appreciated by a whole new audience. Once again, similarly to Depeche Mode, ‘Tears for Fears’ are a hard act to follow and The Black Soft have done so with ease, transforming a well loved yet, ever so slightly, dated track into an electrified modern anthem.
Of all the songs ‘2nd & Drachman’ has got to be the most quintessentially Black Soft track on the album. The song has obviously evolved from ideas that brought the act together initially. A technically complicated song, layered vocals and unavoidable bass build into soft R n’ B style harmonies, making the track a musical smorgasbord of pure creation. ‘2nd & Drachman’ is the song that I would chose from the album to introduce people to the group’s music, it encompasses all that has brought The Black Soft into the public eye, it is an immensely clever hybrid of genres to say the least.
With this album we have been given a deeper insight into the artists, the music is so much more evolved than at the beginning of their career (which is hard to believe was only 3 years ago). The duo keep growing and learning and sharpening their sound and it just keeps on getting better and better. With this album The Black Soft have arrived, and one wonders as to whether they realize how important they are to modern music. The Slow Burn is easily one of the best releases this year, it is universally relatable and enjoyable; I would urge anyone and everyone to go out and buy their music, not just ‘The Slow Burn’ but their entire discography. The Slow Burn from The Black Soft is available to buy now from Amazon MP3.