LVL UP – Soft Power (Stream)
by Steven Spoerl
LVL UP’s Hoodwink’d is suddenly all just about anyone can talk about. There’s a very simple reason for this, too- and it’s name is “Soft Power”. Following a few outstanding lo-fi releases for the increasingly influential Double Double Whammy label, the song takes all of the band’s best qualities and pushes them to their absolute limit. From the lilting vocal melody to the shards of gritty lo-fi punk riffs that slice the song wide open, all of their hallmarks are present. What differentiates this from their past work is the way it’s presented. Jangling guitar work’s married with a more confident, drawn-out structure. Explosive sections are no longer brief, they’re played for maximum impact and build momentum instead of abruptly cutting it off at the head (a trick they used expertly on songs like “*_*“). All told, the New York band’s truly emerged with what’s likely to stand as one of the year’s best songs by the time it draws to a close- and, at this point, it’d be a shock if Hoodwink’d didn’t live up to that promise as well.