def 1: a type of landing, usually of a hot air balloon in descent by gradually reducing its buoyancy; def 2: Amanda Chatel’s new favorite band.
I was fortunate enough to get a copy of Soft Landing’s debut self-titled album well before its October 5th release date. Although I had read about them and knew the band contained Paul Collins and Perrin Cloutier of Beirut (and musician Mike Lawless, as well), I had not officially heard even a single note by them. From Denver to NYC I had Soft Landing on repeat. In fact, it became one of those albums that when it’s over, you’re disappointed – like when you drink that final sip of coffee in the morning: you know there’s more, if you want some, but there’s still this feel of why does a good thing have to be over so soon? I drink several cups of coffee a day, sometimes up to ten depending on my mood, and when it came to Soft Landing, well, I took indulgent to a new level, too. Moderation is overrated anyway.
From beginning to end, Soft Landing’s first album is an exquisite combination of catchy melodies, but the type of melodies you want to catch, and a lyrical journey of emotion and heart. The album opens with “Baptism,” and if I were a religious person, I’d swear that’s exactly what happened to me somewhere in the first few measures of the song. It was as though any and all subpar songs from my past were washed away with this one lusciously intoxicating moment.
“Mic Check,” the second song on the album is so similar in its sound that it seems to be an extension of “Baptism;” almost a vibrating continuation to a great introduction that wants to make certain it has officially attached itself to you, and will not be letting you go… ever.
“Pendleton Woolen,” is where I truly fell in love. Yes, as a whole, the album is a brilliant debut, but it was something about the line “All my kisses turn to ash” that had me. However, after taking things down a notch and infusing the listener’s ear with this ballad, the tempo goes back up a bit for the last few songs and ends on an upbeat note with “Ibiza.” Probably the poppiest number on the album next to “Faith Center,” “Ibiza” even declares its dance-anthem status with its contagious bounce and lyrics; yes, there is love out on the dance floor, in case you were wondering.
While some of Soft Landing’s songs might fall under the experimental adjective, it’s subtle enough to not exclude listeners who may have a more conventional ear. Simply, Soft Landing has created something unique, fun and lovely. So give “Baptism” a listen, and patiently count the days to October 5th, 2010… hell, make a paper chain, that will make the waiting time that much more fun!
By: Amanda Chatel