Soft Lions realigned the constellations of 2016 by releasing their latest EP, “XOXO,” during the final wave break of the year. The band – Megan Liscomb, vocals and guitar; Ana Ramundo, keys and vocals; Jon Bonser, drums – get lost in a parallel universe of broken pastels, syrupy lamentations, tonal juxtapositions, and visceral expressions of rage.
Produced by the celebrated John Vanderslice, the EP does a reverse dive into a myriad of styles, presentations, and topics. The brooding twang of “In the Garden” bounds, cryptically, between inquisitive buoyancy and heightened duress. Meanwhile, the carbonized haze of “Freeway” finds itself barreling forward with glib urgency. It’s the perfect opening salvo for an EP that keeps its wheels tearing at the ground. The compositions tumble, claw, and waltz throughout the six song release. But, without much doubt, “I Get Lost” is the salt water dashed song we have been looking for. The track hopscotches between the ethereal doo-wop of 1950s pop sensation Linda Scott and the distortion laden snark of Ty Segall. Look for this song to make our top tracks of 2016 list, later next month.
With this particular release, Soft Lions have further cemented themselves, not only in San Diego but abroad, as an inimitable force moving into 2017. “XOXO” shifts, seamlessly, between tones while maintaining its deft presentation, unflinching forwardness, and overt sincerity – not many EPs, or albums for that matter, have that sort of ability. The band’s unrelenting awareness of popular culture, media, emotional constructs, and the divisive nature of humanity is ever-present and appreciated as a much-needed release in what has been a frustrating year for many (there’s nothing more cathartic than “Digital Girls”). Now, back to eating pecan pie and listening to “I Get Lost” for the thirtieth time today.