Soars - Soars (La Société Expéditionnaire)

An experimental debut record made from a bittersweet band.

Released Jan 6th, 2011 via La Société Expéditionnaire / By Brendan Morgan
Soars - Soars (La Société Expéditionnaire) Out of a thick wash of reverb, lonely guitar lines hang overhead like silver clouds in monotone skies. Harsh mechanical drums conjure up fields of oil derricks chiselling away at decollate frozen ground. Using the local surroundings of Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania as its influence, Soars’ debut is like a union of shoe gaze texturing and Sigur Ros’ sad reflection.

The slowed-down, industrial drum track thudding away underneath may be one of the band’s characteristic features but it seems more like a heavy burden, constrictive of their creative freedom. It would explain the all-too-obvious riff changes and the strict and regimented song structure; the result of a band straining to work with a drum machine. It may have worked for Suicide because they were trying to piss people off but for deeper emotional music such as Soars, it would help to get a drummer, a real one.

The lead singer’s supersensitive, wet, child-like voice is another downer. Sung in falsetto, the lyrics are nothing more than shapes of sound floating in the murk of the overall mix. Never mind deconstructing “lyrical myth” as their press release claims (using the voice as an instrument is nothing radical) – it would give the album an extra layer if we could only hear some poetry.

When they aren’t being all morose and mopey, Soars achieve a feeling of bittersweet longing. Elegantly simple and instantly likable, ‘Throw Yourself Apart’, with its laborious beat and descending, melancholy chord pattern is an ideal single release. Another notable track, ‘Monolith’ concludes the record with a captivating guitar melody but, minutes before the end, it wastes an opportunity to extend and build up the final segment, maybe crashing into complete tonal meltdown or some other grand finish. The rest of the album is just as sedated.

At best, Soars’ debut album provides a tour of one of America’s isolated working towns and embodies some of the current feelings of hopelessness and despondency rippling through the country. Sadly, there are very little surprises among its glum-rock sound and if you’re an infuriatingly solemn person like me, listening to too much of it would only be indulging in some miserable winter masochism.