Soft Power is a Melbourne trio led by guitarist/composer Matthew Roche that continues to find meaning in stories left unsaid. An all-instrumental outfit, they seek to challenge expectations associated with pop music and the spoken word whilst re-framing it through an improvisatory lens they collectively call “post-rock jazz”.
“Easy Listening, the sprawling new album from Melbourne 3-piece Soft Power, melds jazz, prog-rock, and psych to deliver something truly mesmerizing.” – HAPPY MAG
Since the release of “Easy Listening” (Newmarket Music 2018) and “A Breath Is Like a Swinging Door” (Independent 2017), Soft Power have transfixed audiences nationally with their down tempo jazz grooves, art rock vibes and meditative improvisations. Featuring Oscar Neyland on double bass and Christopher Cameron on drums, Soft Power is an improvised soundtrack to a utopian world. Now with album launch tours in Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart and a performance at MONA already under their belt, Soft Power are ready to stride into 2019 with their own quiet revolution.
More than one year on since the release of their second album Easy Listening, Soft Power return with a new single Counting Sheep (available online July 19th independently).
Inspired conceptually by childhood dreams and nostalgia, Counting Sheep explores Roche’s obsession with Australian kitsch and suburbia, meditating on the classic milk bars and ice-cream trucks of his youth.
Opening with an exposed guitar line that hangs in the air, Roche’s distinctive songwriting is enhanced through the use of savvy post-production effects. With a gradual increase in reverb and delay, the guitar signal warps resulting in a sound world that fades in and out. No doubt at risk of overstaying its welcome, the band quickly settle onto a guitar-pop groove that is familiar and yet surprising, perhaps even disruptive to an unfocused ear.
At just 3 minutes, Counting Sheep is Soft Power’s shortest track and finishes with a heavily chorused guitar improvising to a classic studio fade out.
Roche says that he is “deeply self-aware of my identity as an Australian jazz musician. As a person who predominately performs music from the great African-American traditions and yet lives in a society that is its own, that choice needs to be reconciled with. I wanted to create a personal sound world which captures this uncomfortable feeling, where the band is caught between several moments rather than being in just one. I think this musical vulnerability allows us to feel eventual warmth and acceptance. Counting Sheep is not completely an existential abyss, there is also a lot of love to be found here.”
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