Twins Mercedes and Phoenix Arn-Horn bring a new edge to the alternative music scene in SEE YOU IN THE DARK. It’s their latest EP under the project name of Softcult. Compared to their earlier work such as 2022’s Year of the Snake or 2021’s Year of the Rat, Softcult has shaped their talent to a more thoughtful and honed-in sound. Blending shoegaze and indie pop, SEE YOU IN THE DARK traverses hard topics in a meditative and sonically beautiful way.
It’s clear that Mercedes and Phoenix are not amused by the current state of the music industry. Its opening track “DRAIN” questions whether the industry will ever change for the better and if it does, who does it change for? Fans of Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, with even a hint of Sonic Youth will immediately feel the fuzzy, warmness that good shoegaze brings to the table. Scratching a musical and political itch I didn’t know I had, I’m stunned at how Softcult has set the tone for their EP.
At only 6 tracks long, listeners are asked to confront the sexism and misogyny that Softcult has experienced but that so many people have. Is wearing a dress an invitation to assault? As their second track puts it, “It’s Not a Fucking Invitation”. Wailing guitars, a killer bassline, and percussion pushing the second track “DRESS” into an indie classic, the contemplative nature of the track reminds me of the first time I realized that Grimes’ Oblivion beautifully crafted a piece that showcased the horrors of walking down the street as a non-male in this world. However, Softcult’s grunge influences catapult this track to an anthem the likes of Bikini Kill would be proud of.
It’s no secret that Softcult’s love of the riot grrl movement has touched every aspect of this EP and it delivers a feeling I haven’t experienced since discovering riot grrrl bands myself all those years ago. I got a bass last year because of my renewed interest in the noise and riot grrrl music movements and SEE YOU IN THE DARK reminds me, again, of the importance of positioning these topics in the art for and by those who are affected the most by misogyny and sexism.
Despite the tinge of pop that seeps into each track, SEE YOU IN THE DARK is a powerful EP worth listening to, headphones on to lose yourself in the landscape of change. If there’s anything that I can take away from their track “ONE IN A MILLION,” it’s that it’s ‘laughable’ how the same type of harm is continuously perpetuated by the same kind of people. This doesn’t just apply to the music industry because we all know those types of men who prey on and use people to their advantage. Softcult doesn’t just have something to say but they are actively fighting against this harm. Creating a space in the music to fully engage in these harder topics is no easy feat but SEE YOU IN THE DARK tackles it head-on with strength and a legacy that they’ll carry on.
I look forward to their upcoming projects.
SEE YOU IN THE DARK releases March 24th.
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