The Soft Pack: The Soft Pack (Pod/Inertia)

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The Soft Pack: Pull Out
The Soft Pack: The Soft Pack (Pod/Inertia)

And we thought Shihad had a controversial name post-9/11? This alt.pop four-piece based in Los Angeles – which has toured with the Breeders, Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party -- used to be called The Muslims. The flipside of their first single was Walking With Jesus.

So let's give them points in their efforts to get a headline.

This, their debut album, however steers a straight-ahead course between enjoyably fiery indie.rock and garageband power pop, frill-free riffery and snappy pop economy where very little breaks the three, let alone four, minute mark.

Singer Matt Lamkin delivers a smart line of monotone anger while on material like Pull Out they come off like a meltdown of Joy Division monochrome gloom and the early Chills. And More or Less brings to mind the Chills/Sneaky Feelings in its guitar jangle and driving-pop ethic.

So yes, you can certainly tick off the familiar in their sound – let's add in Wall of Voodoo, the Modern Lovers and the Replacements – but they play out pop and rock history as if they've just discovered this noise for themselves, and Lankham brings youthful disaffection to his slightly sneered lyrics.

When they slow the pace for Mexico with its slewing guitars you can guess next time out they'll have more of their own to offer.

But this will do nicely – when played loud – for now.

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