Brandon Goode is a songwriter and musician from Cullman, Alabama. Soft Serve: Volume 1 is his first attempt at making an album. All songs were written, performed, recorded and mixed by Goode in his garage. There’s definitely a raw quality to the music, but it’s well recorded and produced for a beginner working in the garage. Goode is a man who loves all kinds of music and wants to put his own stamp on his own pocket of the scene. Like many DIY musicians, Goode realized that if his idols could do it then there was no reason he couldn’t do it too.
Soft Serve: Volume 1 is a five-track EP which opens with the song “Can’t Help It.” “I can’t help it, you know / I can’t help it, you know” Goode repeats endlessly in the chorus of this song. He doesn’t tease us with a dull, growing opener; he bursts straight in with the old-school indie rock chord progression, the crashing drums and the piercing lead guitar squeals that are so intricately intertwined with the genre.
“Settle Down is another highlight. “People never change / People never change / Blame it on your mother” Goode sings in a melodic, low, warbling voice that’s reminiscent of the tone from old indie classic bands such as The Editors. It takes me back, but it throws something new into the genre too. There’s a definite immediate and clean quality to the music; again, I think that’s due to the really decent production. There wasn’t a lot to separate this song from the opener.
If diversity is what I wanted then I certainly got it with the third track entitled “Hot and Heavy.” It’s a much slower track, but it’s driven by a bass rhythm and power chords chugging in and out of view. Yet, at the same time, Goode retains the indie rock vibe in both the tone of his voice and the tone of his guitar itself. There’s a nice vocal melody behind it all, and the reverberating, bending notes of the lead guitar add a certain edge to the music. There’s a little variety here, and it’s hard to achieve that in the indie rock genre - it’s often quite formulaic, but Goode has enough instrumental and vocal talent to push the boundaries of what he’s doing with these songs.
“Oh Sean” opens with a clean riff and a slowly throbbing beat, but this soon explodes into gritty, distorted electric power chords and Goode’s most passionate vocals on the entire album. There’s a real energy and fire to his voice that reminds me of the style of early material from The Killers. Still, Goode puts his own stamp on the style; his voice is distinctive at this point. It’s only his first EP, after all, and I have hope that he’ll push even further to find a unique, individual sound in future releases.
The half-melted ice cream on the album cover of this EP says it all, really. It’s bittersweet. There’s something all so delicious and appealing about it, but there’s a bitter taste to the lyrics. I really like that contrast. There are uplifting moments and downtrodden moments merged smoothly into the same songs. Above all else, there’s something simultaneously nostalgic and new about the sound of this release. It’s the indie rock of the noughties mixed with some new-rock flavour of the modern age.
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