Local Boys Deliver Coachella-Ready Shreds

The Soft Pack

The Soft Pack

Kemado Records

After being drowned in flack for their controversial name, the band formerly known as the Muslims finally gave up and got a makeover. Under new alias, the Soft Pack are debuting their first full-length as the only San Diego natives to play at Coachella — not too shabby for Torrey Pines High School alums who used to deliver pizza in Del Mar.

The self-titled album mimics three-minute classics popular in the ’60s, concise taste-testers of the band’s stylized garage-punk. Trading in overtly thrashy power chords for eye-roll melodies, the Pack give an aggressive nod to surf and punk-rock with enough angst to kill a small animal.

First single “C’mon” is a speedy strum-and-bass rush, Matt Lamkin pumping monotone don’t-give-a-fuck vocals (“Don’t have a look/ Don’t have the name/ Don’t have the walk/ Don’t want to talk”) to challenge the cuddly new band name.

“More or Less” shows off their SoCal surf-rock influence while criticizing the La Jolla lifestyle of the rich and selfish, complete with Beach Boy vocals and a stoney instrumental jam to end the song.

Dangerously similar to their beach-fried genre predecessors, the Soft Pack isn’t pushing any limits here. But they also avoid cloning their peers with low-fi blare, and remind us why we love unpolished garage crap. Their tardy entrance doesn’t condemn them outdated or unoriginal — rather, a fresh take on the well-studied, well-worn music we call surf-punk.

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