Velvet Blue Music
Release Date: September 4, 2015
As their name implies, there is a distinct 50's Rock 'n Roll vibe that permeates Soda Shop's self-titled debut album. The similarities between band name and musical style resembles the way Beach House incorporate a surf rock feel into their dreamy indie rock sound. Soda Shop's lead vocalist Maria Usbeck shares a comparable vocal approach to Victoria Legrand, dousing breathy vocals in reverb and often doubling vocal tracks.
The musicianship on Soda Shop is replete with guitar hooks that move up and down scales, punchy rhythms and bass lines that travel all over the fretboard. The tones are sharp and trebly while the mix is somewhat hollow due to a lack of instrumental layers. There is solid drumming on display and plenty of use of the ride cymbal to complement the 50's Rock 'n Roll vibe. The songwriting features choruses that have a slight tendency to blend in with the rest of the song, as the dynamics change in a more subtle way than most bands of today. There is enough quality songwriting to keep a listener's attention for the length of the album, as each song features melodious vocals intertwined with appreciable guitar playing.
"Fence" is the opening track. It begins with drums and bass before the guitar and vocals fully arrive. Right away the idea is presented that this album will be unique from a production standpoint. The sound is polished while still maintaining an authentic feel. The tone of this song is somewhat downbeat and it sets the listener up for the catchy melodies that are to come over the length of the album.
"Wistful Past" is an upbeat guitar driven track reminiscent of The Zombies. Usbeck's vocal chops are on full display here as her ability to take over a song shines through. The same can be said of her performance in "Keep Swimming", as it is the hooks she delivers during the chorus that make the song come alive.
Soda Shop have demonstrated an impressive knack for crafting compelling songs in a style that is relatively unique. While they have established song structures that are solid, they have a tendency to leave songs trailing off into somewhat repetitive endings when the songs could build into something even more powerful. Hopefully they will continue to harness their abilities to that end. This is a phenomenal debut album from a band with seemingly limitless potential.
Reviewed by: James 1340