Picture the scene. It's 4am. You’re stood in a dark room. Around you swarms of vodka-swigging future parents are moving their limbs erratically to the beat. What song is it? It doesn’t really matter, David Guetta? No. Calvin Harris maybe? Who cares? You just have to get out. You brush past the masses and rush up the sticky staircase, trying not to think about how it got so damn sticky, and sprint out of the door. Don’t look back, just get to the taxi.
You’ve been in a nightclub, and it wasn’t very fun.
Lenses, the second album by Soft Metals, allows you avoid all of this nonsense by bringing that nightclub feeling home. You lucky people can enjoy the disappointment and regret of a Friday night whilst you sit in your pants drinking a nice warm cup of Horlicks, because that what everyone does at home right?
Whilst that probably sounds awful, it really isn’t. Patricia Hall and Ian Hicks have found the perfect balance between the moody and the danceable, making the whole home clubbing experience all the more realistic. Moody music can often be as pretentious as those people who pretend to read Gravity’s Rainbow in train stations, but Lenses never feels anything other than genuine. Hall’s ghost-like vocals, or 'ghocals' as they’ll be known as after this review, help to achieve the very real feeling of pain that runs throughout the record, giving the group’s otherwise cold production a strange, almost unsettling, warmth.
These 'ghocals' (I hate it already) mean that Soft Metals can do surreal just as well as well they can do bangers. ‘Tell Me’ manages to out-lynch David Lynch, which is hard; just ask the bloke who did Donnie Darko. The track floats up and up and up, creating the sort of disorientating out of body experience the bequiffed director loves so much.
However, for the majority of the record the surrealness is put on the backburner. ‘On A Cloud’ throbs. I mean it really throbs. I’m talking some depths of your eardrum shit. Sticking to the tenuous nightclub theme of this review, you’d probably say the song is the sound of leaving the club at 5am and not being able to really hear what your mates are saying. You know it’s probably some overly sincere, alcohol fuelled crap; but at this time of night you’ll accept anything. Basically, it’s dead good.
The record closes with a nod to Actress, and anyone who nods to Actress is ok by me. ‘Interobserver’ is just straight up chilling techno, as in it’s cold and creepy sounding, rather than relaxing, because chilled out techno doesn’t exist, I don’t think. The lack of vocals allows the music to take centre stage, creating an extremely atmospheric climax, a fitting end to the home nightclub experience.
If Lenses is anything to go by, this whole idea of home clubbing might actually be a goer. Get it copyrighted Soft Metals, you’ll be rolling in it in no time, Probably.
8Jack Doherty's Score