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Winter Pageant

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Album Review

Amidst the popular shouting and mystical-philosophical dramatics of their female contemporaries, the Softies make music that is barely audible, delicately lovelorn, and mostly unknown. Like It's Love, the Softies' debut LP, Winter Pageant is a collection of songs that begin after the romance has ended. Their sound is intimate and fragile — guitars like baby birds and voices as brightly immaterial as sunlight shimmering on water. The rare songs that celebrate a love that has not yet died — "The Best Days" and "Excellent" — have the same wistful air as the rest. They eulogize a perfect moment, preserve it as a tragic souvenir, before the inevitable end. Despite the melancholy tone, there is something hopeful in the Softies' resignation, a faith in perfect moments that is as strong as the knowledge of love's frailty. There is no recrimination in these songs and no bitterness. From their own intimate distress, Jen Sbragia and Rose Melberg have chosen to produce neither manifestoes nor rallying cries, but sad lullabies for the amorously disenfranchised. In their unassuming way, the Softies remind us that the personal need not always be political, that sometimes personal is enough.


Formed: 1994 in Sacramento, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Borrowing their name from a British new wave group, the Softies were formed in 1994 by singer/guitarist Rose Melberg following the dissolution of her previous band, Tiger Trap. Upon relocating from Sacramento, CA, to Portland, OR, Melberg first established the trio Go Sailor, still a going concern when she teamed with Pretty Face alum (and publisher of the fanzine Sparkly Kitty Sticker) Jen Sbragia to found the Softies. The indie pop duo debuted in early 1995 with "Loveseat," a single issued on the...
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Winter Pageant, The Softies
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