Soft Hell, Pillís second full-length album for Mexican Summer, is a raucous, splintering dispatch from New York City, animated by the madcap ingenuity of a foursome finding a palpable sense of joy and play in expressions of caustic, black humor. Like the contradiction of the album title, which references our acceptance of everyday miseries, itís a slew of dichotomies, a frenzied cutup. Itís bleeding saxophone and lustrous feedback sounding somehow pastoral, and winking hooks subtly infused with venom.
The expansive, charred psychedelia of Pillís early sound ó textured by homemade, circuit-bent instruments and custom effects by guitarist Jon Campoloís brother Nick ó has morphed into something more compact and mischievous but no less evocative. Itís also the most hook-laden, melodic statement in the bandís catalog to date.
Soft Hell, like its Mexican Summer predecessor Convenience, carries forward a free-associative ensemble feel, with the players finding room for intuitive subtleties and melodic interplay even in the most skeletally spare compositions. They play post-punk, maybe no wave, mostly insofar as the terms are far-reaching creative passports.