Softcult are on a mission to bring Riot Grrrl to the modern audience. Since their debut EP Year of the Rat in 2021, Ontario twins Mercedes and Phoenix Arn-Horn have been committed to taking the DIY musical aesthetics of the '90s and updating them for the modern-day listener – like sharing their zines over email and producing their music from home. Their third EP, See You In The Dark further develops their fusion of shoegaze, grunge and punk and establishes their status as a band on the rise.
There may only be six tracks on the EP, but if anything, the short-form release adds to the urgency of their subject matter, and Softcult waste no time getting their message across. Drain and Dress deal with climate anxiety and sexual assault respectively and capture wider, more universal social issues, while One Of A Million and Love Song take on more personal vulnerabilities. Softcult aim to empower above all else, and they’re a breath of fresh air.
Dress is the masterpiece of the album, leaning into their heavier influences without losing the fuzzy shoegaze that makes them Softcult. As with BWBB from their last EP, Softcult are at their best when they lean into the darkest subject matters, which they continue on this record with their exploration of incel culture of Someone2Me.
These darker moments offer up a hint of experimentation where the duo stretch boundaries of what they’ve done before. On a shorter format like an EP, there isn’t a lot of time to push the boat out in the same way they could with an album, so there are some points on the EP where you’re left wanting a few curveballs in the mix.
Their softer tracks have their own power, like One of a Million’s timeless riffs (something that Softcult do exceptionally well) and Spoiled brings the EP to a close on a sharper, more raw sound that opens the door for more sonic exploration in the future.
On See You In the Dark, Softcult venture further down the path they’ve created towards a brighter, more empowering music industry for everyone. There are places where they could take their sound even further, but when it comes to tackling tough subjects in the lyrics, they’re one of the best in the game.