From their long awaited follow up to 2018’s Savior, Portland’s Soft Kill returns with their newest single “Roses All Around.” You’ll want to channel your inner post-punk and ’80s doom pop to really feel this one and all its glory. It’s dark yet luminous in every sense, from its driving percussive beats, harmonic grooves and melodies, while also creating an opportunity to openly discuss its sociopolitical message that is especially prominent now as Portland has become the epicenter of unrest these past few months.
The single comes from the November 2020 release of Dead Kids, R.I.P. City. A story odyssey of sorts told in ten parts, ten songs – each track essentially a character – Dead Kids, produced by David Trumfio (Built To Spill, Wilco) and mastered by the legendary Howie Weinberg (The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana), explores, through a beguiling mix of personal memory, allegory, and narrative structures by turns both poetic and stinging, a long and complicated relationship with a dark version of Portland Oregon. It’s songs that tell of the fractured and fragile legacies of those lost during the city’s last couple decades as it moves from soggy backwater to unheard of growth and tech-fueled transformation.
Desperate, redemptive, its contrast of light and shadow favoring the latter, Dead Kids, R.I.P. City is like no other album in the genre, a kind of doom pop Drugstore Cowboy featuring the brave and abandoned, the tender and the afflicted, all teetering in memory on the edge of the city. For all the sadness and pain of addiction haunting it, however, the record, by its very existence, proves that hope doesn’t necessarily win but that, even if at great cost, it can. It’s what makes Dead Kids, R.I.P. City so powerful beyond just the scope of its dark luminous sound and indelible melodies, and is one of the many reasons you’ll carry it with you.
Dead Kids, R.I.P. City releases November 20 on Cercle Social Records and is exclusively distributed by Cobraside.