The fact that I really don’t love Soundtrak’s debut, self-titled EP makes this review slightly difficult to write. It was frustrating that nothing grabbed me, even after listening to the EP’s six songs on repeat for close to an hour. But it was even more frustrating knowing that singer Jorge Gonzalez used to be in Ink and Dagger, a band that you didn’t need to listen to twice to know was good.
I just couldn’t figure out the problem. Nothing is wrong with the release, technically. The songwriting is well thought out; the vocals/lyrics are good enough to make this a really solid, yet standard, EP; the guitar work leads the way in creativity. Both guitar players, Jorge Gonzales and Paul Jenkins, manage to fuse their different styles in some strange guitar dance, each being careful to avoid the other’s toes. But in the end, Sountrak just left me unchanged and unmotivated.
I needed an outside opinion, so I called ThePeet, my friend in the “Back-in-Black” T-shirt who could shed some light on the situation, and forced him to listen to a track. “The high-hats are too loud,” he told me. “Dude, vanilla soda-pop by any company is pretty gnar-gnar.” I almost headed over to his place and punched him in the neck. I ask for help and he tells me the high-hats are too loud, then goes off on a tangent about vanilla cola?
But that’s exactly what’s wrong here. Soundtrak is like water. It’s clear and clean, and it tastes better than urine. But it’s no vanilla coke. It’s the middle child. It exists, but no one loves it. I feel so much apathy for what’s going on with the music I feel forced to say things like “the production is nice” or “the songs are well written.” It’s like when your girlfriend asks if you think she is pretty: “Well, those shoes are nice.”
Of the six songs, “Available Memory” and “Hardest Day” lead the way in terms of song writing and those creative intertwined guitar parts I mentioned earlier, which make Soundtrak unique. “Latest Craze,” my “favorite” of the release, is a great power-pop song with an awesome intro (slightly off guitars over classic pop drumming leads the way into a driving song, complete with a chorus that will have you singing along by the second listen).
This is all just precautionary, of course; you’ll have to check it out for yourself. Soundtrack has a lot of good stuff, but nothing that hasn’t been done before better. Keep an eye out for future releases though. If Soundtrak can reproduce the “good” moments from this record, the band could have a strong future.