The SoftLightes : Say No To Being Cool…

<img src="" alt=" " />With their debut album, <em>Say No To Being Cool – Say Yes To Being Happy</em>, The SoftLightes have earned a place for themselves on the...
7.5 Modular

 With their debut album, Say No To Being Cool – Say Yes To Being Happy, The SoftLightes have earned a place for themselves on the lap of every indietronic-ster.  Ron Fountainberry and Kristian Dunn have made an honest living off of The Incredible Moses Leroy’s final record, 2003’s The Incredible Moses Leroy Becomes Soft.Lightes.  With drummer Tim Fogarty and keyboardist Jeff Hibshman, The SoftLightes made a splash earlier this year with their iTunes-only Heart Made of Sound EP, and now they’ve delivered a full record of some of lap-pop’s finest keys and beats.

For a release that takes indie pop to some decidedly interesting places, Say No To Being Cool unfortunately doesn’t begin all that well.  The leadoff track has its moments, but the treacly "Ballad of Theodore and June" does not impress, and is probably the weakest song on the album.  Next are the first two tracks from Heart Made of Sound, its eponymous song and "Girlkillsbear," and while they are the best two songs off that EP, their rhythms and notes break little new ground: pleasant, but not remarkable.

Say No To Being Cool really starts going places with "The Robots In My Room Were Playing Arena Rock."  Instead of sticking to the same basic pattern as before, The SoftLightes throw in some garage guitars and distorted, reverb vocals, to create a slick kind of lap-pop/rock.  And that’s only the first stop they make, keyboard and percussion in hand: reflection and strong rhythmic vocals fashion the countrytronica of "A Town Named Blue," while nostalgia about a lost childhood friend gets some wind & strings lap-flute on "Leanor and Me."  The SoftLightes also come at ya straight-up, with the catchy-as-all-get-out "Microwave Song."  The album ends on probably its two most impressive tracks, with the ebb and flow of the planet spinning on "If the World Had Cookies," and the upbeat, forward-moving, toe-tapping "Black Skinheads In White Pants."

Fountainberry & Dunn may have lost some of the R&B they had as The Incredible Moses Leroy, but they’ve really become something more in The SoftLightes, doing big –and interesting – things with indietronica’s keys and beats.  The Incredible Moses Leroy Becomes the Soft.Lightes might have been one of the most prescient record titles ever (minus the period), but Say No To Being Cool – Say Yes To Being Happy seems to be even more so (at least that second part).

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