New Sounds: Get lost within the classic alternative majesty of Soft Skies Inc’s ‘Only Paranoid’


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A while back we relayed a growing sentiment that classic alternative is the new classic rock. But while it’s easy to go back and mine the records that shaped us in our youth, the ones that still essentially provide our modern-day soundtrack, there’s certainly a limit one faces after years and years of the same spins; music that is adored and cherished will always have a place close to the heart, but every now and again something new is necessary.

Soft Skies Inc, the project from brothers Ryan and Martin Rex — both known for their work in acclaimed Boston psych-pop outfit Lockgroove, with the latter also responsible for the driving beat behind the already-missed Ghost Box Orchestra — carries on the classic alternative legacy by hitting a sweet spot of warm familiarity and exciting freshness. This week’s release of blistering new single “Only Paranoid” has us physically pressing together the vinyl sleeves of our New Order, Lightning Seeds, and Jesus And Mary Chain LPs to experience a new kind of first-wave sensation.

It’s high praise, but it’s duly earned.

“Only Paranoid” is a remarkable head-trip; raw but polished, clean yet gritty, reserved but still full of sonic intensity. The drumbeat rattles and shakes, the guitars dance around a echoing buzzsaw, and the music moves along at a frantic pace that’s oddly comforting, never falling out of step with the rhythm it immediately sets in your head. It’s three-minutes of fuzzy bliss, and, maybe most importantly, it finds the Rex brothers collaborating again, on their own terms free of the expectations and weight of previous projects.

“Despite some Gallagher-brothers-esque blowups and the occasional hurting of large items at the other’s head — it’s the best,” they tell Vanyaland in a joint statement about making music together. “There is nothing we’d rather be doing that creating music in the studio or playing live when the timing is right. We don’t have musical telepathy, per se, but we are on the same page aesthetically and really and truly help make each other’s ideas better.”

“Only Paranoid” was recorded by Chris McLaughlin at 1867 Recording Studio in Chelsea, produced by the Rex Brothers and McLaughlin, and mastered by Heba Kadry at Brooklyn’s Timeless Mastering.

Listen to it below, and make room for it among the tried and true.

Featured Soft Skies image by Claudia Galindo, and cover art below by Lindsay Metivier.