Soft Black | The Earth is Black
Most Likely To: be alphabetized before Soft Boys.
Songwriters are a funny lot. Their inspiration can come from so many sources: personal heartbreak, world events, and Joe Satriani songs from a few years back. Then there’s guys like Vincent Cacchione, singer/songwriter/guitarist/main shot caller of Soft Black. Much of Soft Black’s second offering, The Earth is Black, was written about his dreams. Not the dreams where’s he’s banging supermodels, but the dark, nightmarish ones.
The title track is based on a dream he had when he awoke alone in his mother’s New Jersey apartment. (Some would argue that just waking up in Jersey is a nightmare in its own right.) He finished the song in ten minutes and the result is a garage-y romp. As in many songs on the disc, his voice wavers between Bob Dylan and Randy Newman. At times he bites off more than he can chew; “I Am An Animal,” for instance, has him almost yelling the lyrics. Yes, that fits the attitude of the song, but makes it a tough listen.
“Mouth is Drippin’’ yields almost the same result. During the verses, he’s restrained, but as he approaches the chorus, it’s a tough go as he sings “Then no one’s gonna love you / They just fuck you till you’re sore.” A disembodied, androgynous voice hangs in the opening of the ’60s rooted “Time Gets Away and Has Its Way with You.” Despite the title, the song is a departure from the dirty sounding music and the most realized song on the disc.
“Kissing The Dirt” features a light and airy melody in direct contrast with the dark lyrics. How dark? How about “Everybody is chewing on the limbs of the children”? Yeah, this guy has issues, and I can’t decide if he would be fun at a party or a total downer (he wrote “Did You Put a Spell On Me” on the neurotic belief that a former band member hexed him). The album closes with “Night Terrors,” where the melody teases a big release, but just simmers beneath the surface. It’s a good example of the melody flowing with the lyrics and giving the song its own personality.
Stylistically, much of the album rests on the garage level. The sparser songs have a near psychedelic feel. Add some acoustic instrumentation, mix in a touch of folk, shake neurotically, and the result is The Earth is Black.