REVIEW: Pill – Soft Hell

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REVIEW: Pill – Soft Hell

Shannon Durazo

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Soft Hell, Pill’s second full-length album, is a chaotic (yet oddly pleasing) combination of
punk, jazz, noise rock, and the occasional Spanish lyric. If the unique musical dynamics of this
highly creative group don’t pull you in, the hand-drawn album artwork of a dog playing the
piano against a nuclear fallout background certainly will. Vocalist Veronica Torres leads with
stinging lyrics and a steady hand on the bass guitar, one of the many potent weapons of this
diverse NYC group.

Torres’ lyrics are ready for every fight: late capitalism, female rights (“In a crusade over
who owns the right to my body / What am I allowed to create or destroy?”). The delivery is
sharp and staccato, maintaining composure against the deluge of horror. The intensely political
and undeniably eclectic vibe of the Brooklyn underground scene radiates through this album,
and its pretty awesome.

Opening track ‘A.I.Y.M?’ begins with the innocent “You're the poster on my teenage
wall,” but quickly gets corrupted into the declaration “I’m going to grease you.” ‘Dark Glass’
finds our protagonist waking up with a headache in bed, surrounded by glass (“a permanent
bunk mate”) before being assailed by the horror of reality going on outside the window.
Paranoia pervades on ‘Double Think’, where she decides to “stay inside – get ahead,” but
believes that people are listening through the thin walls, and ultimately spirals down into a
repeated failure “forget to play it cool,” the sax and bass twisting together in a teasing backing.

The album is political, undeniably so, but does not feel like a soap-box act, making it a
refreshing listen for 2018. For Pill, the personal is political, and one’s own daily occurrences of
oppression suffice for subject matter. Soft Hell is not only a document of modern daily life, but
a prescription for how to get through it: put your head down, grow a thick skin, work with like-
minded people, talk about issues, stay strong, and speak up for what is right and fair.

Recommended: 2, 3, 9

RIYL: Negative Scanner, Bikini Kill