[$4.49 for 7", $3.99 for CD, $5.99 for both // https://velvetbluemusic.com/shop/soft-lions-spellbreaker-2/]
While I initially heard the first song on this because I watched the most amazing music video for it I did feel as if that song had enough goodness involved in it to make a single review so this is going to be my third song-by-song-review (Though the other two have not yet been posted) following a fairly large stretch of not doing any.
<1> "Waitress" - The drumming starts and then there are these psych vibes that make me think of something almost classic rock. As it kicks in I can think of a number of older bands to compare this with but not nearly as many modern bands, unfortunately. It's somewhere between The 5, 6, 7, 8's and Blondie here. It's got a fast, punk rock tempo to it. Then it slows down into some guitar strums. As she sings, "When I love you / Oh, I stop singing / When I love you / You were my world" there is a great amount of soul coming out in it. This is just unlike anything I've ever heard before but combines such spectacular elements from other artists I enjoy as well. It turns into these "ba ba ba ba ba ba ba"'s with the main singer and the back up singer is doing it on her own. Then it kicks right back heavy into the original song part with a "FOREVER!" and that section there- which might be called "the bridge"- felt like a little song within the song and it was truly wonderful. The idea of this song comes from the lyrics about being a waitress and the fact that she says she never thought she'd see 21 but then she when she reaches that age she thinks she'll be dead by 25 and since she's not she just assumes now she'll be alive for a long time. It's funny because there is this time- before we turn 21- where we tend to think that we're going to live forever. I'm not sure when it starts and when it ends, but we do at some point early on believe we're immortal in some ways. Then later, maybe in our teens, we begin to think we won't make it to 21 or 25. It's like that episode of "The Simpsons" where Homer says, "I don't know, I never thought I'd live this long". It's really quite something to ponder when you have the time, yet this is also just an all around fantastic rock n roll song that reminds me of a band I cannot recall the name of but know I have a sticker for on my old dresser at my parent's house. I googled what I thought it was and, yeah, Sahara Hotnights.
<2> "Thx" - Just a note before writing about the song, the back of the CD sleeve simply says "Thx" but the Velvet Blue site has this song as "Thx 4 the Sanctuary". Big drums and ringing begin this song and it feels dreamy right away. The singing just fills a room when you listen to these songs-- it's so powerful. These organs are ringing in the background now and then the pace increases. As one voice sings "Thanks for the sanctuary" the other sings something else and not just the two voices going at it there but the music also reminds me a bit of Delta Dart, which was one of my favorite bands back when they existed so to hear that in this song, within these ringing organs and all, it's quite a treat. The slower, dreamier parts are in the verse and then as it hits the chorus it has that punk/rock feel to it. I like that they seemingly make two different songs within this one song and have pieced them together but in a way so that it's a smooth transmission. You can listen to these lyrics for yourself though and put your own thoughts into them.
<3> "Spellbreaker" - "Whoa, whoa, whoa", drum stick clank and then the deep, dark vibes come out. This is the titular song and the hook for it says "This is the year I become a spellbreaker" and it just plays on that a bit. The vocals are just really belting it out and it doesn't sound like Janis Joplin but it has her same delivery- where you just know that the singing is getting every fiber of that person's being behind it. On some level it reminds me of Cher- vocally- and then it's a cross between something like Jefferson Airplane, The Doors ("Break On Through" specifically) and Joan Jett because it just has that kick your ass quality. If songs were people this is one you would not want to mess with or you might end up in the hospital. This song is just bad ass and there is no true comparison for it simply because with all of the greatest of rock n roll songs there never is. They set the tone, they don't follow it. As much as she wants you to believe you're going to become a spellbreaker though (And within the opening lines she says "You taught me to read the Tarot") just know- for those who need the reminder- that you will not be able to break my gypsy curses.
<4> "Phantom" - This is the quieter, acoustic sounding number that has a bit of that Cowboy Junkies "Sweet Jane" feel to it. The rhythm is certainly dreamy but it still remains in a genre all its own because it's not quite going in any single direction so as to compare it with an existing artist from that genre. Though the song is quite lovely and reserved the words behind it are about a phantom as she says "You'll never walk past my window" and wonders why she is being chosen to be haunted now. I really do not have a point of comparison for this other than to admit it is a beautiful song and the placement of the music and lyrics makes me feel like someone sweet and innocent (Artists of whom I cannot think of any right now- shame on me) is singing the theme to some horror movie only perhaps that is being a bit too drastic.
This is available as both a 7" and CD and you can even save yourself some money by purchasing them together via Velvet Blue Music, which is what I recommend you do simply because you should have the CD to jam out to in your car and the record to hear at home because this does sound like the right type of rock n roll for vinyl. Some of my favorite four songs right now I just want this to be a video series as well as to hear more music from Soft Lions one day as well. Just such great songs.
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