xoxo_coverArtist: Soft Lions
Title: XOXO
Release Date: October 28th, 2016
Record Label: Velvet Blue Music

Soft Lions return with their latest album, XOXO, a record that embodies the quarter-life crises of the modern world.

XOXO is a relatable collection of songs, stylized around the workings of relationships in several contexts, shifting exposition from the intimacy of lovers to external social commentary on female objectification. Singer Megan Liscomb’s lyrics make the leap from microcosms of personal narratives to broader social implications, but not at the cost of relatability. If there’s one thing this band has a knack for, it’s the juxtaposition of their lush sonic landscapes and a scathing, descriptive lyricism. Much like “Waitress” from their Spellbreaker EP, we see a resurgence of themes connected to the unfulfilled expectations of youth bleeding into the apathy of adulthood.

A highlight from the release,“Digital Girls” illustrates the desensitizing effect of real-life interactions warped by our perception of personal online branding. The person an individual presents themselves as is hardly ever the full picture, and XOXO capitalizes on that duality of identity in a modern world. There’s an intimacy to the veil of self-doubt that percolates just beneath the hard-shelled reluctance to admit vulnerability, but it’s there and XOXO is richer for it.

“Run in Dreams” ties XOXO together through the use of nuanced imagery and effective pop sensibilities. The combination of ethereal musicianship coupled with an underlying hopefulness make the track the centerpiece of the release. One of Soft Lions’ most effective strengths has always been their ability to balance a temptation for nihilism with the undercurrent of desire for a greater existential purpose, all within differing types of personal interaction.

Soft Lions have continued to grow and refine their brand of surrealistic noise-pop, augmenting their dreamy, garage rock aesthetic with the sincerity of heartache and depression, hoping for something more.

Review By: Brian Strauss (Foxx Press)