By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
It seems like Soviet has been around longer, but the band first appeared on the scene only in January. Boy, did they ever make a splash upon arrival: With the release of their Forever Today EP, the lo-fi, garage-punk outfit, then a three-piece, filled the void left by the hiatus of Teenage Cool Kids. While other acts may have crumbled under such expectations, lead comrade John Spies seems to have thrived, expanding to a four-piece, embracing his band's fast-rising profile, wearing it as a badge of honor and even getting a little confrontational with live audiences in the process (see: Soviet's memorable 35 Conferette performance at J&J's Pizza).
Unfortunately, their full-length debut, DOOM, feels a little rushed. The 18-track release, which features only three tracks that surpass the three-minute mark, is somewhat scatterbrained, the result of Spies and Co. putting out seemingly each and every bedroom-style recording they'd made on a whim in the past few months. Considering this band's youth, though, maybe that's not such a bad thing. In some ways DOOM scores as a behind-the-scenes look into a band still discovering its own identity.
And there are still flashes of brilliance: "Wimbledon," with its angular guitar riffs, is good enough to stand toe-to-toe with pretty much anything that Denton's supreme punk alliance has yet released in '11; "All Sorts" is a retro, sock-hop romp that shows this band's popular-music awareness; and album-closing piano ballad, "No Other Will Do," shows a band confident even when stepping well outside its comfort zone.
You can't blame a band for wanting to capitalize on its early success. But let's just call a spade a spade: DOOM's really just a massive collection of demos, and not the full-length debut Soviet's billing it as, if perhaps with a wink; like Forever Today, DOOM is a pay-what-you-want release available for download on the band's BandCamp page.