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“I want my burrito, Dad!” Sam Glassberg shouts as he recounts a story about a family he saw on the T with fellow bandmates Joe Holcomb and Garren Orr. The good-humored chatter and playfulness continues during their warm up, but soon the band Soft Focus slowly lets the sound of steady drums and slow-picking guitar take over the studio as they join WERS for the Left End.
With Orr on drums, Holcomb and Glassberg bringing in guitar, the band kicks off the session with “You Trip Me Up”, allowing an upbeat progression that draws you into their natural high-energy vibes. Once they’ve got your attention, they change tempos by performing a more reflective song called “Tunnel Vision” that has a softer tone to it with bursts of big instrumentals throughout. The lyrics release feelings of nostalgia with one line, “Old town, driving me around, used space trying to get out,” particularly standing out.
The theme of starting anew is one that has gradually become the future for Soft Focus, as they are all taking on different paths in the upcoming year. With Holcomb and Glassberg heading to the West Coast and Orr staying East for some time, the band played their last show together at the Cambridge Elks Lodge, a bittersweet evening for both the band and their fans.
Ending their time in the studio with one of their older songs, “Hey You”, the musicians give one last head bopping, foot-tapping performance, keeping active the positive vigor of most of their songs. Though the meandering almost melancholy intro of Holcomb’s lone guitar may provoke thoughts of the blues, the sound soon gives way to the encouraging rhythm brought in by Glassberg and then Orr.
Soon the underlying sound of the intro develops into the base for what becomes an optimistic song. While the youthfulness of the band remains intact with instrumental cuts midway and shouts of, “A cup of coffee? I ONLY DRINK TEA,” by all three, there are the masked undertones of something bleaker that the musicians disguise perfectly with strong playing.
While the band’s members are off on different adventures, don’t expect distance to separate this trio for too long. At some point the band hopes to reconnect. “It’s just been fun. Bands before have been really job-esque, but I have fun playing with these guys every time,” Orr says.
Glassberg speaks of the chemistry and growth the band has developed throughout their time together, something all three want to continue at some point in their musical careers. The band has released one EP already out for listeners, and their second will soon be following. The titles, however ambiguous, give the sense of day and night with the first EP focusing on that 90 degree sunshine, sweat dripping on the brow, summer jams these guys are known for, and the second flowing sweetly into the cool, crisp air of Autumn; leaving their listeners hanging onto the cusp of a late summer evening, waiting for Soft Focus to reunite.