The Soft Cavalry – The Soft Cavalry (2019) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

The Soft Cavalry – The Soft Cavalry (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 56:21 minutes | 654 MB | Genre: Dream Pop, Shoegaze
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Bella Union

The Soft Cavalry are Steve Clarke and wife, Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell. The band’s music is a particularly British brand of intense cinematic drama. Melodic and timeless, the album lands in the atmospheric dimensions between Pink Floyd, Talk Talk and Mansun. A record radiating midlife crisis but equally enormous elation; a helix of fear and hope, aching for resolution.

The self-titled debut album from the Soft Cavalry (the duo of Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell and her husband, Steve Clarke) is a testament to the power of love. Prior to meeting Goswell on Slowdive’s 2014 reunion tour, Clarke had played in several bands and worked as a tour manager for many others, but never felt confident enough to share his own music with the world. On The Soft Cavalry’s songs, he and Goswell (as well as keyboardist Jesse Chandler, guitarist Tom Livermore, drummer Stuart Wilkinson, and Clarke’s brother Michael, who produced the album) trace his journey from doubt and loneliness to creativity and happiness. Though the Soft Cavalry is a collaboration, Clarke’s voice dominates the album. While Goswell fans might be disappointed she doesn’t take a more central role, her presence is everywhere on The Soft Cavalry. She’s most prominent on “Passerby,” an airy yet haunting song that’s a showcase for her ever-gorgeous vocals and a tribute to just how much she inspires Clarke. As the album unfolds, it becomes even clearer that the Soft Cavalry isn’t just an extension of Slowdive. Along with his relationship with Goswell, Clarke draws from his years of artistic and emotional paralysis, and many of The Soft Cavalry’s songs are portraits of someone at a crossroads. Clarke and Goswell set these stories to introspective melodies and widescreen arrangements — a classic dream pop approach that they put their own stamp on with “Dive,” where the song’s haze builds to a steep climax as Clarke summons the courage to take a leap of faith. Elsewhere, the xx-like drum machines and serpentine guitars of “Bulletproof” and the sunny jangle of “Never Be Without You” — which calls to mind Grandaddy or Goswell’s post-Slowdive project, Mojave 3 — can do more than the expected shoegaze and dream pop. The Soft Cavalry’s moods are just as complex. Some of the most striking, and relatable, moments occur when Clarke lets uncertainty creep into his songs: the way his doubt ratchets up the tension on the cinematic ballad “Spiders” makes it a standout, and the stakes are nearly as high on “The Light That Shines on Everyone” and “Only in Dreams,” a spacious, Laurel Canyon-esque track with plenty of room for Clarke’s confessions to flow. At times, his contemplation gets a little too meandering, and some songs fall on the wrong side of the fine line between anthemic and clichéd. Nevertheless, The Soft Cavalry is a promising debut that’s held together by the emotional commitment Clarke and Goswell bring to each of its songs. ~ Heather Phares

01. Dive
02. Bulletproof
03. Passerby
04. The Velvet Fog
05. Never Be Without You
06. Only In Dreams
07. Careless Sun
08. Spiders
09. The Light That Shines On Everyone
10. Home
11. Mountains
12. The Ever Turning Wheel