Sometimes the city ravages you such that only the countryside—or a smart approximation of it—seems to offer any relief. Luckily for your spent husk of a human body, there’s Softly, Dear, an Eau Claire, Wisconsin band “with a very ‘Wisconsin’ sound.” They’re so easy on the ears you’ll forget all about that murder you were premeditating.
The Portico EP is the five-piece band’s debut, originally self-released on CD. That version quickly sold out, and Mine All Mine Records is re-releasing it as a cassette tape, with a bonus remix of one track from Phobos. If you lost track of your Walkman sometime in the last two decades, though, don’t fret: it’s also priced to move as a Bandcamp download.
Stream the whole thing before you buy, from the lullaby-like arpeggios that open the title song to the fiery fretwork that lifts “Sleep It Off” to a soaring conclusion. Best of all might be the penultimate “Lenses,” a slowcore build that adds layer after layer of glossy guitar and strings till it sounds like Explosions in the Sky on antidepressants.