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Pay The Rent - "Soft On Glass" album review

If you remember, I won a few tapes from White Reeves Productions at the show with Bill Nace and Twig Harper. One of these albums was Pay The Rent's Soft On Glass. Pay The Rent features members of Pittsburgh's Slices doing something totally different than hardcore. Soft On Glass came out back in May, but this is my first time hearing it. The soft sounds left me feeling somewhat damp, a mild ennui of slight, vague despair.


The album cover follows the White Reeves Productions design template with a rectangle border around an image surrounded by, usually, a solid color. This one is particularly simple, but it is a good design and an eerie one at that. The lizard that adorns the tape really creeps me out, in a subtle way, with its double-tail, headless form.



Soft On Glass starts out with the ambient "Knaut". It's like a small choir of mermaids singing underwater. The next track, "Lower Down", starts droning, turning into a John Carpenter-esque synthscape before moving back into New Age territory. "Two Days In" is a somewhat bleak, sad track, meditative. And the first side ends with the swinging "Calf", which reminds me of a bleak highway, shot in black and white, somewhere out in the high desert.

Side two comes in with another more Carpenter-esque track, "Diana". Waves repeat as something builds in the background. Many echoing voices form this space travelogue. "Corridor" has more watery sounds; I imagine walking through an aquarium with huge windows to peer into jet jellyfish. "Knaut (reprise)" sounds more like the sky, a musick box that you might open to reveal clouds and winged humanoids and other things. The sky would be a pinkish orange in color, not blue. This one also reminds me a bit of some of David Bowie's stuff from the Labyrinth soundtrack. "Knaut (reprise)" really is beautiful and might be my favorite track on the album. Soft On Glass closes with "Soft Silhouette", a scarier track like Coney Island at night, some of the abandoned dark rides beckoning from the gloom. There's the sound of the ocean, a pulse, and various creaks and bells and things. And then that's it.

Soft On Glass is a really interesting album. I'm not sure if I have ever heard something that made me feel quite this way. It's gloomy and brooding but not to any sort of extreme. The title fits the musick extremely well. I enjoyed the small slices of synthscapes that would normally be longer, grander epics. Despite the unsettling feeling, this was a breath of fresh air to what could have been a much more typical electronic album. Soft On Glass gets a Good.

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