The Pacific Northwest seems to have found a niche in recreating psychedelic folk-rock with epic sweeps of sound under softly textured vocal harmonies. First Band of Horses, then Fleet Foxes and now Seattle’s up-and-coming The Soft Hills. The band recently released its new album, The Bird Is Coming Down to Earth, on Germany’s Tapete Records, and it’s easy to hear the influence of the ’60s permeating its gait.
A music video for opening track “Phoenix” seems to perfectly encapsulate the band’s style as a man takes a spiritual journey in the desert sunlight. The song is all about letting go of the material world and discovering personal fulfillment from within. “Poverty’s the wise man’s gold,” Garrett Hobba sings in a gossamer voice that sounds layered upon itself — “He throws his riches to the open road,” he continues, in rhythms and tones that rode once before on “A Horse With No Name.”
There’s so much familiar inflection on The Bird Is Coming Down to Earth, it’s hard to not want to draw comparisons to the greats of the past, namely Neil Young and The Doors. At times, the music even reflects something a little more modern — I’ve found myself likening some songs to MGMT, and Hobba’s voice nearly mimics Thom Yorke’s on “Tidal Waves” and “Chosen One.”