Thursday, November 3, 2016

Soft Ledges

Soft Ledges is a duo out with their self-titled album which drops on Nov 18th and if you haven’t heard it yet, you’re honestly missing out. The band consists of the lovely Shelley Miller on vox, guitar, drums, and piano; and Chris Geisler on bass and drums. Together, like a dark and despondent megalith they deliver a heartfelt and deeply passionate studio performance. There are ten songs total on the album and I wanted to highlight several of them.

The album begins with the subtle, jazzy, and smooth “La Nina” – there’s a rock edge to this number that is very satisfying to me - although it is slow, almost insinuating an exhaustion save for the magnificently energetic vocals.

Song number three is “Orion,” starting with piano and high pitched droning. The band gets a huge plus from me for the number of ballads present on this album. Naming all their strengths would take a long time but my biggest compliment for them has to be a sense of melody that is both brilliant in its architecture and daring in the willingness to go places unexpected.

Track number four “Deer Fly Blues” continues with the dark ambiance overlayed with Miller’s voice. The sheer variety of moods present in the delivery is astounding as she is able to instantaneously shift from playful to angry, disgust to acquiescence, and flirtatiousness to disinterest. The band is right behind her as a cacophony of sound props up the vocals as they surge and dissipate; it’s the kind of teamwork that typically only comes after long, long periods of playing together and Soft Ledges seems to have it in spades.


“Long Way to the Ground” is track number six. This one is guitar driven with playful riffs playing a rhythmic accompaniment. The lyrics echo the title of the song in a way that is very poignant. The guitar all of a sudden becomes sad in the context of the lyrics. In a big way, it seems as though the accompaniment is the optimistic part of the ego that says “everything is going to be OK.” Unsurprisingly, the lyrics actually seem to take this direction until the line “you’re never gonna get back up till you come down.”

Soft Ledges seem to be happy to pay tribute to older styles of music – this isn’t to say they are copycats or simply reinventing tracks from 20, 30, or 40 years ago as there is always a profoundly individualistic spin put on the songs. This is evident in the penultimate number titled “Don’t Wait,” it’s a moody and bluesy aural experience that would be very at home on an Aretha Franklin album; however, there is a darkness present which is unmistakably modern.

There is precious little information about these three musicians available on their website. I’m hoping that will change as more folks take notice of them. It would be interesting to read the context of their musical musings. In the meantime, there are a few samples of their release which can be played directly from their homepage. When the album drops, I’ll be more than happy to spend the required dollars to own it.