The Soft Hills | Painted World

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Folk: Psych-folk Pop: Ambient Pop Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Painted World

by The Soft Hills

The record features a handful of acoustically-toned songs, rich with harmonies, sparse layers of instrumentation and heart-felt lyrics.
Genre: Folk: Psych-folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Apples
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5:17 $0.99
2. Spent
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3:14 $0.99
3. Hills Like White Elephants
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5:18 $0.99
4. Wandering
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4:54 $0.99
5. Diamond Road
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6:58 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
Recorded at a local elementary school, the band enjoyed playing many of the children’s instruments that were available, including a xylophone and toy bells. Indeed, one senses a playful, child-like quality to the EP which can be felt from the first track, “Apples”, as Hobba sings about rolling apples off a roof, building a boat, and sailing along the cold northern coast. Even on “Spent”—a song whose lyrics evoke a dark and desperate existential questioning of life—the gentle beauty of The Soft Hill’s melodies remain the same. With this intimate and organic record, the band covers a lot of territory. From the Hemingway-inspired “Hills Like White Elephants” to “Diamond Road”, which depicts the visionary journey of a wanderer, Painted World is at once timeless and a breath of fresh air.


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Sean Redding

Painted World
With their self-released EP, Painted World, The Soft Hills give a tantalizing first glimpse of their music. “Apples” is remarkably beautiful, building from a simple acoustic progression into a euphoric odyssey with whale-crying slide guitar and soft, mallet-booming drums. Hobba’s lyrics are an invitation to some faraway voyage (“I’m building a fine wooden boat/ now we’re sailing the cold northern coast”). “Spent” rides on a duet of finger-picking guitars and is ornamented by Heinrich’s tastefully sparse piano and glockenspiel work. “Hills like White Elephants” was inspired by a Hemingway short story and moves with a galloping beat of shakers and tambourines, and yet, despite the happy-go-lucky feel of the song, the lyrics lend an underlying sense of melancholy (“She waits in misery, that’s the way with everything”). Hobba wrote “Wandering” after spending a year traveling through China. This deeply personal song reflects fundamental changes in Hobba’s thinking and touches on his growing interest in Eastern philosophy. The final track, “Diamond Road”, depicts the journey of a visionary wanderer who has just departed the waking world and has entered upon unknown paths of a mysterious land of light and dream. The arrangement is rich with layers of experimentation—delayed slide guitar, piano, xylophone, backwards bells, and samples—which build into a coda of emotional intensity driven by Dresman’s luscious guitar textures and Hobba’s crystalline falsettos. The band covers a lot of territory with Painted World, allowing space to be present while painting delicate landscapes of sound.


This long awaited EP is exactly as I hoped it would be. A perfect blend of soft acoustic chords with lovely electronic feelings. An obviously talented new band with an incredibly bright future.