Originally founded in 2009 as a duo by founding members Sarah Kinlaw and Bryan Keller, Jr., the Brooklyn-based indie rock act SOFTSPOT has gradually evolved into a quartet of friends and fellow musicians with a history of collaborating with each other and wild, almost unfettered creativity; in fact in 2012, Kinlaw and Keller recruited long-time friends and renowned musicians Blake Bateh, a member of JOVM mainstays Bambara (drums), who joined the band for the recording of MASS and Jonathan Campelo, a member of Pill (synths), who joined the band during the tour to support MASS.
Slated for an April 7, 2017 release through Arrowhawk Records, the label home of Bambara, Cinemechanica and White Laces, Clearing is the first recorded effort featuring the band’s current lineup and the album finds the band refining their sound and songwriting approach. Now, if you had been frequenting this site for a while, you may recall that I wrote about Clearing‘s first single “Abalone,” a spectral yet tense and urgent song that featured a tightly syncopated rhythm section, shimmering guitar lines and twinkling synths paired with Kinlaw’s gorgeous and ethereal vocals. The album’s second and latest single “Heat Seeker” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor but manages to sound as though it draws from New Wave, 80s synth pop and prog rock as the band pairs slashing guitar attack with propulsive metronomic-like drumming, Kinlaw’s plaintive and ethereal vocals, twisting, turning and shimmering synths and a soaring hook within a gently morphing song structure. And much like “Abalone,” Clearing‘s latest “Heat Seeker” possesses a hauntingly spectral quality but there’s an underlying tenseness at its core, stemming from the difficulties and frustrations in attaining true and lasting connection with others, while revealing a song with a novelistic approach to its narrator’s psychological makeup.