Glittery indie-pop is at an all time high. It’s on the radio, it’s topping the charts, and it’s in our brains. Bands like Metric, Lights, and Of Monsters and Men are some of the bigger names of musicians that control this genre. What’s even more interesting is that there is such a large geographic area that this music is popular in. Metric is American, Lights is Canadian, and Of Monsters and Men is from Iceland of all places. Now this rule doesn’t apply to all areas of the world, but the next band featured in our “Underground Mondays” segment originates from Peru. Now based in the great New York City, The Soon-Another contains that indie-pop structure while pulling from their Peruvian roots, which is noticeable in tracks like, “Hogar”. They label themselves are ‘synth-rock’, but I’d argue both genres are applicable.
The band has recently released the album, Autodidact, which is a perfect title for this solid album. The word means to pretty much “teach yourself”, and although these musicians feel formally trained, the tracks presented on this album feel from the heart and gracefully original. Opening with the track, “Like You Like”, the clapping kick starts an adrenaline rush. What I noticed from the get-go is how spot on the harmonies are. The two musician’s vocals blend very well even with the range of the two almost being the same. The next track, “The Garden”, reminds me closely of the infamous iPhone song, “You, Me and the Bourgeoisie”, by the Submarines. It’s a great throwback and although I could never remember the name of that Submarines’ song, I don’t need too anymore because I have The Soon-Another instead.
Three tracks that caught my eye and made me want to return to this album were “Life is Too Short To Suck”, “Empty Space”, and “Time Work”. The entire second half of this album is absolutely killer. The hooks feel fresh, the songs are upbeat and natural, and not too mention “Empty Space” is easily one of the most fun songs I’ve heard in 2013. I also found the “Peace Sells…” influenced bass line amusing in “Time Work”. Ironically, the Megadeth riff fits very well for a genre that is on the complete other end of the musical spectrum. Another great track that only really hit me at the end was “Institutionalized”. I found it had too much of a Queen influence for me, but the minimalist ending and xx sound really fit my style. Less “Bohemian Rhapsody” and more xx and they’d have a contender for song of the year.
Autodidact has a great sound. The appearance of the album artwork presents a wonderfully colorful cast, while the setting is quite bleak. The words are also extremely rigid and harsh, but musically, this album is very opposite. It’s accessible, fun, and dynamic enough for anyone who’s usually the first to turn off any top 40 indie-rock. Surprisingly, the only track I didn’t like was the self-titled, “Autodidact”. I mean, it’s one of the best names for an album in a long time, but the song felt forced to me. The vocalist has this awkward singing-rap thing going on and it didn’t really work. I like the tempo and beat, but it didn’t fit in to the concept of the fresh synth-pop album. The chorus is actually very catchy with it’s repetitive lyrics so I liked that.
Overall, Autodidact, is an exciting release from a rising band. Their sound fits the key points that all big time bands today contain. The killer vocals, the catchy hooks, and the great melodies are a must for any band wanting to make a living off of music. Now most musicians who have that ‘it’ sound gave up any integrity they had when they were presented with a contract, but The Soon-Another seemed to have kept it with this release. The songs are fun, to the point, and are re-listenable. The fact that the band can change dynamics in one song that is even more intense than “Bohemian Rhapsody” is quite respectable. I sense that was the influence behind the track, but nonetheless I’d listen to “Institutionalized” any day over that Queen song. Props to The Soon-Another for this wonderful release! Anyone looking for a great summer/fall album should check out Autodidact; or if you’ve ever considered giving synth-pop a listen, be sure to add this to your list. I know I’ll be listening as time passes.
Be sure to buy their album from their bandcamp here
Feel free to stream Autodidact thing here:
Here’s the video for the opener, “Like You Like”: