The Soft Hills Serenade Neumos in Seattle

Picture courtesy of Trevor James Tupper
Picture courtesy of Trevor James Tupper

A few years ago Garrett Hobba rediscovered a passion that had been stifled and suppressed in the banality of competition. The play of music rejoined him upon his arrival in Seattle, urging him to form a band and leading to the inception of The Soft Hills.

“I found the music community to be very supportive [in Seattle],” Hobba said, referring to the catalysts of his reborn musicianship.

The resulting project brought to life a kinship between melancholy and revitalization; a soothing texture enlaced in multi-facetted depth. The Soft Hill’s newly released freshman LP titled Noruz (referring to a Zionist concept of cosmic rebirth) draws a careful pattern between swelling warmth and an involved tenderness.

A west coast tour covering California, Oregon and Washington recently concluded last night with a show at Neumos in Seattle. Performing between the striking James Apollo and highly entertaining Karl Blau; The Soft Hills delivered a hypnotizing set of patiently paced melodies and weaving harmony – moving from the light pluck of indie folk to washed-out acid rock.

“Our music is diverse enough to be available to everyone,” Hobba said.

The young band is still in the process of consolidating their sound and persona. Their second album, which I am told may be available in the winter (only half a year after their first album) could very well showcase a fully-fledged congruency within the band members.

“I see the songs heading in new directions… Randall [the drummer] has brought a new direction to the band… we are more of a tight band in the new record,” Hobba said.

What we know from their existing work is that the components of their sound, in both the abundant tunefulness and ranging ambience, has a virtual patent on explorative potential. In certain ways the musical quality exemplifies studied introspection, the sound is concerned with itself – it takes its time, it’s very careful and unrushed. It oddly harkens to the largely unused adage of ‘if music made music’ questioning the relevance of presentation and appeals to common appropriation in the face of considered musical attention.

If someone were to put a gun to my head and demand to know who The Soft Hills sounded like, my initial (and startled) response would probably be Radiohead. Upon further reflection I would be inclined to submit Pink Floyd and Sigur Ros. If further deliberation was necessary I might mention their likeness to The Flaming Lips. However the ambience of The Soft Hills is a more pronounced feature than the above examples and the conceptions that they explore are quite different.

“The sound and feeling are the first things I think about when writing a song… it is personal and all ultimately comes from introspection,” Hobba said.

Garrett Hobba assured me that the band is very keen on touring a lot. The Soft Hills will be performing at the Comet Tavern on October 8th, so if you’re in the Capitol Hill area or near Seattle, you should come check them out.