Soft Issues by Soft IssuesRelease date: October 20, 2017
Every time I speak to promoters looking to book bands, I say, “book Cattle”. Cattle have become one of my favourite live bands over the past few years alongside HEALTH, Gnod, Evil Blizzard and the apex: Aphex Twin. Soft Issues is the noisy off-spring of the band, a poltergeist-esque side-project spewing a relentless stream of venom through static.
A piercing tone erupts into Chris Jacob’s trademark scream: an aggressive, wolf-like howl straight from the pit of his stomach, the visceral and the violent seem inherent within both the Soft Issues sobriquet and the project’s aural landscape. Glitches, digital aggression, brutalist percussion. ‘BDC’ explodes and collapses.
‘Radiator Paint’ continues the barrage in a seamless continuation of relentless anguish and unwavering fury. It has a Tetsuo: The Bullet Man quality: a human being torn apart by machines. Taken over, overrun by technology and collapsing with pressure so great you could make a diamond but, all that’s manufactured is pain.
The third track, ’The Thrill of Seeing Your Friends Fail’ detours the album into a brooding, dark ambient passage. A calm before the storm. A post-tantrum slump into despair. Regrouping, unsettled but, exhausted.
Surely enough, ’Degloving’ tears back into the listener with a malicious assault of mangled robotics; the result being like a bad trip sequence from Wonder Showzen.
‘Hetchell’ closes the album, another drone-based dark ambient track muffling distant screams: this is the unofficial soundtrack to the world. Listen close and pay attention to horrors at arm’s length and a world shut off from the suffering of others.
The inaugural EP from Soft Issues is one of the more bleak releases you’ll have heard this year but, its savagery is real and in that sense of relatable pain, it becomes as narcotic as Cattle whilst remaining an idiosyncratic treasure in its own right.