Soft Black, the NY folk-rock band led by singer/songwriter Vincent Cacchione, is getting ready to release The Earth Is Black, the follow up to their 2007 debut Blue Gold. I dug much of Blue Gold, especially “Pearl With No String” (mp3 below), so I have been looking forward to a new album from the band for a while. But what was sent to me last week was something utterly unexpected. I have no qualms saying, halfway through January, that this album will rank high among my end-of-year favorites. I know that that might seem like meaningless hyperbole coming from just another music blogger who embraces the innocuous pastime of ranking everything he hears. But seriously, not this time.
I’ve never been so excited to share music from a local NY artist as I am this record. The Earth Is Black doesn’t play a bum note. It’s a strikingly personal album from an artist with something to say - in this case dealing with the effects of deep fear, religious doubt, and sleep deprivation stemming from an endless series of nightmares. “It seems pretty limiting to refer to a record as a strict concept," says Cacchione, "but at the same time its inaccurate to avoid that tag when your dealing with songs that grew from a similar patch of creative soil."
That thematic unity is made even more interesting because Cacchione surrounds his words and melodies with a crackin’ band that’s equally capable of anthemic glam-folk (“I Am An Animal”), Ray Davies-like shuffles (“Time Gets Away And Has Its Way With You”), and propulsive folk-rock sing-alongs (“The Lions”, “The Earth Is Black”). It’s all brought home by the album’s cathartic finale, “Night Terrors”, whose slow-building tension is relieved only by the vulnerability in the vocals. The Earth Is Black is, quite simply, a great rock and roll record. Vincent, I think your luck is about to change.
The Earth Is Black comes out 2/17 through Plays With Dolls Records.
MP3 :: I Am An Animal
MP3 :: The Lions
(from The Earth Is Black. Info here)
MP3 :: Pearl With No String
(from Blue Gold. Buy here)