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Faces to watch 2010: The Soft Pack

December 29, 2009 |  4:37 pm



Locals via San Diego, the Soft Pack makes fast, scrappy music full of guitar riffs that ricochet between low-fi recklessness and sunny euphoria. On the band's upcoming self-titled debut album, the musicians tackle plenty of standard topics, with songs about girls, break-ups and the like delivered with punchy, punk-inspired zest.

Then there's the casual track or two about seceding from the union. "Ride the legislation," singer Matt Lamkin briefly shouts on "Pull Out," a frisky, cymbal-heavy number in which California becomes its own country.

Yet the Soft Pack -- the band abandoned its original name, the Muslims, after the musicians grew tired of deflecting questions about the meaning of the moniker -- never really comes across as angry. And who can blame them? Southern California is a swell place to live, and our garage-rockers aren't ashamed of embracing the comforts of khaki shorts or shooting music videos at the beach.

After a string of independent releases, the group's self-titled effort for Kemado Records is scheduled to land Feb. 2. "Go take a chance / Find out what it means," Lamkin challenges listeners in the album's opening cut before shouting, "Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines!"

Maybe the band does have some combat in its blood. Or perhaps Lamkin just has a fondness for rhymes.

-- Todd Martens 

More Faces:

Faces to Watch in 2010: Architecture

Faces to Watch in 2010: Theater

Faces to watch in 2010: Classical

Faces to watch 2010: Scott Amendola

Faces to watch 2010: Dum Dum Girls

Faces to watch 2010: The Living Sisters

Faces to watch 2010: Ke$ha

Faces of 2010: Entertainment (film, music, TV, new media)

Photo: Matty McLoughlin, from left, Matt Lamkin, Dave Lantzman, Brian Hill. Credit: Steve Gullick