When I received The Softest Touch from Sons Of Armageddon I was expecting a Thrash Metal band. Nothing could be farther from the truth and somewhere down the road I would expect them to change their name to SOA or something a little more indicative of the avant-jazz that they play.
The Softest Touch at times reminds me of the pop bands Cake and Cornerstone if they removed vocals and went into a jam session. Each of the eight songs opens up with interesting riffs and has fills that entertain you. But I can't think of any song that has that power hook that keeps you focused for the length of the song. The shortest song is 5:21 and the longest is 9:13. That's a long time to be rehashing riffs and fills.
Don't get me wrong, for an acid-jazz, electronica CD it never reaches the point of wandering or annoying that others of the genre sometimes reach. There just isn't the progression through the song that takes you to the next level. Hybrid Magazine called this "What Miles would sound like if he was still around". You could maybe say that about parts of this CD, but Miles always found a way to enthrall you throughout the entire song. Sons Of Armageddon haven't pulled that off yet.
After sounding critical for the last three paragraphs, let me tell you that a free-form, jazz/funk, CD is about as difficult to pull off as it comes. It takes amazing creativity. This is a creative CD. The songs are all entertaining. The trumpet of Kirk Knuffke is well played and holds the rest of the electronica band together.
The Softest Touch is a very entertaining first CD and entry in the Dub-Jazz category. Recommended for fans of Bill Laswell. As their songwriting progresses, I look forward to continued improvement on their sophomore effort.
1) Ripe Watermelon 6:24
2) Hoels 5:33
3) E.S. Smothered 7:14
4) Shambles Factory 5:21
5) Wall Street Colonel 6:52
6) Dubya 9:13
7) The Didler 6:18
8) A Thousand Kisses Deep 6:40