Softly, Dear hail from the Midwest of the USA. Where, in particular, we do not know, but we did find some pictures of them playing in a car park outside a school. We also know they played a benefit gig for Ghana and another show to raise money for book printing. In conclusion, the school/university band are 3 gigs old with an interest in Africa and keeping print alive. Now on to the music. Better Times starts off as all good US guitar bands do. Jangly, distorted guitars backed by an angry synth and a disco beat. It’s nothing new but perfectly pleasant. If these chaps hailed from Camden this would sound a whole lot less cool. It’s indie rock by numbers until the song takes a squealing left at the lights. Banjos descend, group vocals wail, honky-tonk piano, plinks-and-plonks and suddenly we’re drunkenly swinging from the chandeliers. All of this is complimented by a guitar solo straight out of Robbie Robertson’s back pocket. Yes! Now at a Western ranch, the first half of the song is a distant memory; some indie dive bar far, far away. Fans of The Band or The Felice Brothers will feel right at home. If this song is anything to go by, then these guys could be our new favourite Jekyll and Hyde band.

Words by Luke Barham

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