Disco? Alive and well? Well, it all depends on which side of The Pond you’re on. In the United States, the music genre of disco is much akin to (American) Football: it’s completely irrelevant to the rest of the world. Americans envision disco as a polyester nightmare resplendent with hairy, rhythmless white males; a constant sonic bombardment of wah-wah pedals; and big gold chains that would make even Mr. T ripe with envy.
Any person that is suffering from such a delusion should give a listen to Soft Rocks.
The four-man group, based out of Brighton (that’s in the UK, kids) started out as nothing more than a quartet of lads who shared a vinyl fetish…for vinyl records, that is. Soft Rocks first entered the music fray in 2003, contributing a number or re-mixes for artists such as MGMT and spinnin’ tunes on for many a dancefloor. And then, Soft Rocks began to create and produce their own imaginative sounds.
Combining multiple musical aspects from across the international spectrum (imagine, if you will, a little ‘70s Disco fused with ‘80s New Wave and a bit of a Caribbean beat to boot), the combined collective of Bobby McEwan. Piers Harrison, Andy Sims and Chris Galloway have been wowing the pooled communal socks off of those of us who were just beginning to think musical kidney stones like 50 Cent were never going to pass.
Over the next couple of years, Soft Rocks began releasing 12” singles. My first encounter with Soft Rocks was a track from Disco Power Play II entitled “The Devil Made Us Do It.” At first, I was convinced I was listening to a previously-unreleased funk-adelic theme from a ‘70s Italian horror film: the tune successfully captured every characteristic from the very era it was paying homage to.
And the fellas behind Soft Rocks have once again come through in showing their respect to the genre of funky music with Disco Power Play: The Album (also known as just plain ol’ Disco Power Play).
One highlight (for me) included on Disco Power Play: The Album is the boys’ oh-so-strut-a-licious cover of “For Your Love” by The Yardbirds, which bears the new moniker “Whore Your Love” for this release (!). Another familiar tune from yesteryear — Iron Butterfly’s immortal “In A Gadda Da Vida” — gets a workover in “Garden Of Eden” (complete with coherent singing this time ‘round), infusing the memorable chorus from the ‘60s acid rock classic with a newer beat. Speaking of beats, Disco Power Play: The Album doesn’t skimp on variety. The album takes its listeners on a journey across the entire globe, making use of almost every kind of beat imaginable along the way.
In short, disco still isn’t dead. And I’m grateful to the members of Soft Rocks and their latest long-playing effort, Disco Power Play: The Album for keeping the genre alive and fresh. Recommended.
Disco Power Play: The Album can be purchased at Juno Records.