Soft Kill and Choir Boy revive '80s alternative sounds with authenticity and lots of fog

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Soft Kill at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Soft Kill at Will's Pub
THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Soft Kill and Choir Boy, Will’s Pub, Mar. 10

This touring bill pairs two bands so faithful to the sounds of ‘80s alternative that they’re inescapably retro, but in ways that breathe deep authenticity rather than kitschy nostalgia.
Soft Kill at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Soft Kill at Will's Pub
Soft Kill at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Soft Kill at Will's Pub
Portland post-punk band Soft Kill deal in a similar but thicker kind of melodic gloom as the Chameleons UK and their ilk. The fog machine and backlighting were no accident. Soft Kill weave the kind of murk and mystery of early, pre-pop Cure without devolving into Robert Smith rip-offs. Surrounded by their sound and enough pea-soup atmosphere to obscure your usually familiar surroundings, it’s a performance that’s as convincing a wormhole as they come.
Soft Kill at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Soft Kill at Will's Pub
Soft Kill at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Soft Kill at Will's Pub
Just as transporting were Choir Boy, a young Salt Lake City band that debuted in 2016 on Team Love Records. Their atmospheric pop is the stuff of sleek, svelte ‘80s dreams. At one point, someone even broke out a saxophone on stage.
Choir Boy at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Choir Boy at Will's Pub
Choir Boy at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Choir Boy at Will's Pub
The music is distinctively singer-centric, with Adam Klopp’s angel-winged, Jimmy Somerville-esque voice leading the flights. Live, they feature notably more brooding post-punk ink in the well, casting the kind of incredibly moody shadows that Depeche Mode do in their purest Martin Gore moments.
Choir Boy at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Choir Boy at Will's Pub
Choir Boy at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Choir Boy at Will's Pub
Even though Soft Kill and Choir Boy are unmistakably referential, they’re both exemplars of how to do it with true belief not superficial tourism.
Choir Boy at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Choir Boy at Will's Pub
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Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com


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