Soft People are the duo of John Metz and Caleb Nicholls. The pair met in 2009 as members of the band Great Lake, and have now been married for six years. Although both are life-long musicians, Caleb probably best known for his previous project Port O’Brien, it was not music so much, as a shared anger at what followed the 2016 US elections, that brought Soft People into being. Their debut album, American Men, recorded and released in 2017, was a damning indictment of capitalism, toxic masculinity and the dangers of the two colliding. Next month, the duo will return with their second album, Absolute Boys, a record they describe as, “decidedly apolitical and distinctly queer”. Today we’re premiering the latest track lifted from that album, William.
While the duo are native Californians, William’s origins are from somewhere considerably more familiar to us, Lamer Tree Gardens in Dorset. As Caleb explains, the titular William is, “a boy I met at The End of the Road Festival…I fell very in love with this guy I happened to meet, and… the rest is in the song“. In the current climate of wildfires, Coronavirus and Trump induced civic unrest, the track has taken on a certain nostalgia, a deliberately backward glance, “in times like this, looking back feels healing; taking stock feels necessary; dreaming about where we have been might be the best way to know where we are headed“.
Musically, the track feels like a coming together of worlds, the processed beat, drenched in static has a euphoric, club feel, while the cyclical guitar-line and easy vocals are considerably more akin to bedroom-pop. The result is like the middle-ground of Sparklehorse and New Order, a sort of sad-core banger, a dance-floor filler emanating from an empty nightclub. At a time when escapism is so tempting, Soft People embrace it, letting their minds drift back towards, as they put it, “a beautiful time now long past, that, hopefully, will come round again”.
Absolute Boys is out October 2nd via Sandwich Kingdom. Click HERE for more information on Soft People.