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Having jumped the sophomore slump and gotten over the hump, Soft Targets return with their third full-length for RoosterCow. Some short punk rock blasts co-exist with more stretched-out grooves in typical Softies fashion. This may be their best effort to date. Recorded by Poulin @ Armitage Shanks in Logan Square, Chicago.

Soft Targets - Don't Put Out CD LP

SKU: RC013
  • Responsible for artists as diverse and seismic as Wilco, Tortoise, Smog, and The Handsome Family, Chicago holds an esteemed place in this writer's heart. The fact that SOFT TARGETS also hail from the magnificent Windy City is a good start in itself, but it also means they're up against some inspirational competition.

    And, in truth, Don't Put Out (the band's third album after 2007's debut We Hate You Soft Targets and last year's sophomore release 'Soft Targets Must Be Destroyed!') isn't quite enough to see them elevated to the heights we've come to expect from the cream of Chicago's population. It's not bad at all and it certainly has its' moments, but ultimately it's a decent enough garage-flavoured indie album and little more.

    You can at this stage say “ok fine” and walk away because you've heard all this before. And in places you have. Certainly, the album has a bit of a slump mid-way (around the time of the solid, but unexciting 'Public World') and a disappointing conclusion courtesy of the lippy, but disposable 'Western Civilisation' and interchangeable garage action of 'Big Cats'. Yet despite these blemishes, you should still stick around because there's some half decent gear to be savoured here too.

    For starters, Soft Targets are clearly in love with the best pop-punk out there. Short, sharp songs like 'When The Apocalypse Comes', Idiot Clause' and 'Runaround' (which comes complete with a gloriously untutored bass solo of all things) are full of nervy riffs and punky aggression a la Buzzcocks or Ash, while the slightly more experimental likes of 'Figure It Out' and the spirited 'I Don't Act Right' have a seat-of-the-pants DIY charm that's truly seductive in selected doses.

    The eerie edge of 'Some Days' is another memorable contender, though ironically the album's stand out track is its' cover version (admittedly a relatively obscure one) in the shape of The Mystic Tide's 'Frustration'. I know sod all about The Mystic Tide, save they were a psychedelic-influenced garage-rock outfit, but if their back catalogue harbours more in the tuff, Chocolate- Watch-Band-with-sitars vein of this song, then I'd like to hear it. Very much, actually.

    All of which sounds like I'm damning 'Don't Put Out' with faint praise. Possibly I am, because as yet Soft Targets haven't quite sussed out the special formula that will put them ahead of the pack. For all that, there's something at work here which suggests writing Soft Targets just yet could well be a mistake. So let's cut them some slack. They are from Chicago, after all. — Whisperin' Hollerin' (UK)

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