Boy King and the now-defunct The New Kinetics are two of the best acts to come out of San Diego in recent years, so any band that brings together members of those groups is sure to pique our interest.
The newly formed Soft Lions marry the vocal, guitar, and songwriting talents of BK’s Megan Liscomb with the accomplished drum work of TNK’s Jon Bonser. And in case that’s not enough local star wattage for you, the trio is rounded out by Lex Pratt (Wild Wild Wets/Marco Polo/The Very) on keys and backup vocals. Soft Lions will release their debut EP, No Peace, on December 6.
“[No Peace is] a four-song EP about falling out of love and being really bored,” Liscomb told us. “I mostly write about my life, the people I know, and I’ve only ever been one person so far.”
While both Boy King and Soft Lions allow Liscomb free reign in her autobiographical explorations, the new band finds her taking a more proactive approach to her songwriting.
“I just love writing songs, and the process, the way the songs get made in each band, is very different,” says Liscomb. “In Boy King, most of the time the music is done or nearly done and I find a melody and write my lyrics to sort of ‘finish’ the song off. What I’ve written so far for Soft Lions, I wrote by myself in my room and then I took the songs to Jon and Lex and they fleshed them out and made them like real living things.”
That system is clearly working for Soft Lions. The 16-minute No Peace is a tantalizing introduction to the band that makes maximum use of each member’s considerable talents. The title track (which you can download above) scatters its Boy King-esque guitar crunch across a sprawling sonic landscape haunted by Pratt’s ethereal backing vocals. The hypnotic interplay between Liscomb and Pratt also adds a dose of peyote to the tribal, slow-burning “Horses.”
But the EP’s finest moment is unquestionably “I Slept In This Dress,” which sounds like a cross between Liz Phair’s “Flower” and Pretty Girls Make Graves’ “Parade.” “I slept in this dress just in case you called,” Liscomb confesses, backed only by an autopharp and Pratt’s disembodied cooing. But what begins as an exercise in eerie, vulnerable minimalism is turned on its head by the addition of Bonser’s martial drumming, instantly transforming the pity party into a defiant anthem of self-empowerment. You never called, but it’s your loss, buddy.