'Mathematical Monsters' is the new double LP from Portland based indie-beat group Soft Tags. Recorded in Reykjavik, Iceland, Scenic West Hollywood and an haunted cement factory in Portland, Oregon, these are 18 songs about escape, the loneliness of space and the value and beauty of a moment.
Easily the most accomplished of the bands recordings, the songs span from jangley, chiming, effervescent, rock 'n' roll songs ('Elms,' 'Brazil,' 'Architect Song') to haunting, fuzzed out vignettes ('Gone,' 'The Pine Barrens' and 'Overhead, the Weather Ship.')
With acoustic guitars through vintage tube amps, cello bass, violin, theremin and hammond organ, this is also the most lush, layered, intricate and all around beautiful sounding record the band has recorded.
'Lovely.' - Andy Rourke (the Smiths)
From the Willamette Week, Thursday December 17:
' Quick: Name a local band audacious enough to release a double album in the instant gratification era of the MP3? Still thinking, huh. I’m pretty sure that no one outside of Soft Tags, Richard Shirk’s quirky Kiwi pop-inspired outfit, would dare something so radical. New joint Mathematical Monsters is split down into two discs, labeled (Birds) and (Elephants), and both sides easily breeze past anything Shirk’s ever written before. “Elms” bops along on a faraway organ and perfectly jangly guitar line, coming off like a cross between the Clean and some of the more tuneful lo-fi pop that’s become so popular this year. And though the record is still hidden under a slight bed of tape hiss, Mathematical Monsters sees the Tags’ taking the natural grandeur, the push-and-pull, of their songs and aiming for something bigger. Shirk’s a longtime admirer of the Go-Betweens and here, on nuggets like the hushed “814″ and the chugging “Brazil,” he comes close to matching their pure pop hooks.'