Discovery: The Soft Cavalry - "Bulletproof"

The Soft Cavalry are a husband and wife pairing from Devon, cute. This description wouldn't particularly interest me, but considering it has the RACHEL GOSWELL tag, there's really no excuse not to check them out. Of course, anything Slowdive related is gold, but any side project must be held to the same standard as everything else out there - this is no Mojave 3 after all. When a member of an acclaimed band veers off, they're usually almost always the focal point. No fault of their own, that's just how media and PR works - think Gorillaz (Simon Tong,) The Postal Service (James Tamborello,) nobody mentions the equal. Fortunately, Goswell has paired with a talent in Steve Clarke.

The bearded session musician / tour manager worked with Slowdive on their latest self-titled release, on 'additional vocal engineering' - thank you Wikipedia. Clarke takes more of a central role in The Soft Cavalry. I'll take a punt at saying this is Clarke's long term 'in progress' project, brought to life by Goswell rather than steered by Goswell. Clarke, once of Dum Dums and more recently on film with Ricky Gervais' Foregone Conclusion, isn't too dissimilar to The National's Matt Berninger in vocal style. His sharp voice is a worthy partner to Goswell's angelic instrument.

"Bulletproof" is a well produced electronic folk track, but without the minimalist emotion fans of Slowdive / Mojave 3 are used to. Sure, this is more folk in style, more akin to the work of King Creosote and Jon Hopkins rather than Sun Kil Moon. But where The Soft Cavalry's last effort "Dive" introduced a catchy psych folk outfit, "Bulletproof" doesn’t quiet reach the previously set high expectation. Vocals are definitely the standout, with percussion failing to resonate. It's the rawness felt in "Dive", shared in Goswell's previous work that seems to be lacking here.

The beauty of Slowdive wasn't the immense big hitters like "When The Sun Hits" and "40 Days", but the spacious layered compositions like "Erik's Song" and "Blue Skied An' Clear" - this is where dense layers of reverb naturally collide to produce the dream midst gazers often speak of. The gaps are often the best. Naturally, this is where Goswell thrives... guitar drones, long drawn out reverb, and her now revered backing vocal. The Soft Cavalry's self-titled debut will be one to keep an eye on, but here’s hoping for more of the duel wielding vocals and less of the flat percussion.

Edward Gibson

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Discovery: Discovery: The Soft Cavalry - "Bulletproof"
Discovery: The Soft Cavalry - "Bulletproof"
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