Post-punk in the modern age is a really difficult genre to pull off. You can either sound too much like one of the classic bands like Joy Division, or you simply rip off one of the modern successors like Interpol. The trick is to find yourself somewhere in the middle of that, which is exactly what Italian band Soviet Soviet set out to do with their second full-length release, Endless.
Following on the footsteps of their 2013 album, Fate, Soviet Soviet have continued to develop their own take on the hard-hitting, atmospheric punk sound without emulating what has come before. Endless starts off with “Fairy Tale,” a track that gets progressively more intense as it goes on. A driving bass line from Andrea Giometti overlaid with a soaring guitar by Alessandro Constantini lead into Giometti’s unique vocals, and like other Soviet Soviet songs before, complement each other well. This balance is something that Endless manages to capture very well as a whole. The first single from the album, “Endless Beauty,” is perhaps one of the weaker tracks in terms of sound and variation. The structure, both musically and lyrically, are similar throughout and fail to offer anything new or exciting. However, the next song, “Remember Now,” makes up for its predecessor and offers one of the best on the entire album. A gritty guitar sets up Alessandro Ferri’s energetic drum beat once again supplemented by Giometti’s vocals. This anthem of lyrical remembrance is capped off by an emotional Giometti harmony as he sings “When I lack control / you feel lost / but tonight don’t bring me down.” The strengths of each member of the trio really shine on this one.
“Going Through” is almost like two different songs combined into one. The first half is basically a typical-sounding track from Soviet Soviet, but they switch things up midway through and fall back into a slower-paced, more foreboding sound as Giometti sings “Some rules will never be real / you can draw many fears / can you live alone? / with your love up close to God.” As we approach the midpoint of the album, “Star” gives us a refreshing break, and also allows the album some room to breathe. This is pretty much the closest thing to a ballad that you’ll hear from Soviet Soviet, and also has one of my favorite lyrics: “But tonight we’re on a star / every time, the whole time / she’ll take you and she’ll make you dream.”
The next track, “Pantomime,” is a signature performance for bassist Giometti and drummer Ferri. Combine it with the Constantini’s guitar, and you have a 5-minute song that by the end leaves you breathless (in fact, I dare you to put this song on loud and try to resist the urge to dance around your room to it). The longest track on Endless is up next, titled “Rainbow,” and unfortunately feels like a bit of a letdown. Perhaps it was the high that “Pantomime” built up, but a lot of the potential that “Rainbow” has falls short, both musically and lyrically. It’s not a bad song, per say; just disappointing given what came before.
“Surf A Palm,” despite being one of the shorter songs on the album, has one of the grooviest riffs and will have you tapping your foot to its beat for sure. Though the lyrics suffer slightly from simplicity, this doesn’t really take away from the song overall, and thankfully, the instrumentation makes up for any faults. The closer of the album is yet another carefully balanced track between the guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, which is ironic given that its title is “Blend.” Lyrically, it’s also one of the more uplifting songs, with the final lines being “When I see you there / time stands still / with tenderness, with passion / and slowly we blend.” The entirety of Endless really leads up to this moment, going from dismal impossibility to encouraged optimism.
As a whole, this album elevates Soviet Soviet to a different, more mature level. The songwriting has improved tremendously in the three years since Fate was released, and the writing of the lyrics feels more emotional than before. Standouts like “Remember Now” and “Pantomime” epitomize what makes this band fresh and exciting, while songs like “Star” build on this and show us a different side of Soviet Soviet than what we’ve heard before. Endless is a musical journey that is completely built on hope, and is a worthy addition to Soviet Soviet’s catalogue.
- Better instrumentation, with more diversity between tracks
- Strong highlights for the vocals, guitars, & drums
- Beautiful cover art
- Though an improvement from before, the lyrics occassionally feel too simple
- Not enough risk-takers like Star