Holiday In Rhode Island
By: Brooke McDermott
Listening to The Softies is like sneaking into your big sister’s bedroom with a hairpin in hand ready to pick the lock of her diary. Hoping to find the secrets of her perfect life, you stumble upon a whirlwind of broken hearts, ghosts, advice, and tears. You instantly develop a deeply intimate relationship with the intertwining electric guitar melodies, haunting vocal harmonies, and real-life lyrics big sisters Rose Melberg and Jen Sbragia have to offer on their third full-length album, Holiday In Rhode Island .
This time Rose and Jen have sprinkled their creation with more sugary treats than ever before. While staying true to the soothing dual guitar style they're known for, they incorporate a slew of new instruments into the mix. The Softies have found their niche in pop music’s underworld with jangly guitars, soulful melodies, and harmonies accompanied by xylophones, drums, keyboards, bass and acoustic guitars.
“Me and the Bees” strays furthest from their trademark, minimal style. Ironically, this waltz-y song about loneliness is the only one on the album that incorporates all the added instrumentation. Even with the fuller sound, the duo remains loyal to its cardinal rule that no other musicians play on its records. The Softies' approach to music is far too personal to include outsiders.
The Softies tackle heartrending issues honestly and delicately in their lyrics. The sweetly posed “are you loving how you’re living?,” is a rhetorical question that hits home, and “Yellow Sundress” deals with death using a gentle metaphor of a hem coming loose to ease the pain softly. There is naïve desperation rooted in the plea, “I hope you never leave me,” and childlike, dreamy wishes to “draw a line through all of 1999”, which made me feel like I could too.
With Holiday In Rhode Island, The Softies explore new territory while perfecting an already unique style. They inadvertently offer advice about boys, loss, and adulthood. They are honest , almost painfully so, and they are everything about which good indiepop music should be.