Soft Cotton are an indie rock group from Saskatoon, but they prefer "indie rock rollercoaster." With their debut Dark Disco, they introduce themselves as a band with some tight arrangements, a hint of sax and a tendency to get a little loud.
If there's any rollercoaster to be found, it can be found in singer Mikhaila Anderson's voice. On tracks like "Hi-Road," she effortlessly channels Florence Welch or London Grammar's Hannah Reid, moving between a lower, snarling growl and a soaring upper register a la "Dog Days Are Over." Elsewhere, the aptly named "Heavy" finds Anderson drawing from the power and grit of mid-'90s PJ Harvey before the songs bursts into an almost shoegaze-y guitar solo.
The record suffers when Anderson's voice gets tied down. The calmer, muted portions of closer "Sun Son" lack the power and urgency of the record's more compelling tracks. Dark Disco shines brightest when the group are able to dig in and let Anderson's voice soar; she makes those opportunities count.
With Dark Disco's varied sound palette, it feels too early to say whether the band have truly locked down a group identity. But with a weapon like Anderson's voice, they've got plenty of time for that. (Independent)