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By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 1, 2011 5:20PM

Photo by Kirstie Shanley

Soft Speaker's latest, I'll Tend Your Garden, is a throwback to the days when bands weren't afraid to rock out and sweat while staying smart about it. The tunes sound simple but that's because all of the intricate, intertwining pieces fit together so seamlessly you don't even notice how much work went into crafting them. The group mines the rich vein uncovered by the melodic adventurousness of pre-Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd and Neil Young's mid-'70s crunch.

There's a daring behind the Chicago group's songwriting, a fearless approach for going for it without worry of pretension. In a landscape dotted by so many bands uncomfortable with taking a stance that doesn't include irony or a wink, Soft Speaker is refreshing in their balls to wall approach of writing good old fashioned rock and/or roll songs that last just as long as they need to. "Pagan Pastimes" is a good example of this approach as it goes from a hook laden start, takes it's sweet time as the guitar lets loose and says its piece, taking the song to the edge of a cliff and then launching you out into a floating free fall. If you like the taste of that then we highly suggest you pick up the whole album, available at their record release show at The Empty Bottle tonight.

MP3: Soft Speaker "Pagan Pastimes"

Soft Speaker plays tonight, April 1, at The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western, 10 p.m., $8, 21+