Even though the name may not sound familiar, SOFT PLAY has been around since 2012 but under a different name and have something to say to those objecting the name change in their new track “Punk’s Dead.”
SOFT PLAY is a British punk duo who formed the band originally under the name SLAVES in Royal Tunbridge Wells back in 2012. The duo put out 4 records and an EP under the original name with the latest release being the 2019 EP The Velvet Ditch. After that, the group took a hiatus during covid and after due to events happening in their lives only putting out a song in collaboration with the band Gorillaz titled “Momentary Bliss.” Seemingly out of nowhere the band disappeared from social media, clearing their pages almost entirely until a post popped up on December 9, 2022. In the post, the band addressed the hiatus but more importantly that they would be undergoing a name change noting that the current name was an issue. “However, we now recognize that our original intent doesn’t change the fact that the name Slaves is an issue.” They also address that they don’t care who the change upsets, declaring that “the name doesn’t represent who we are as people or what our music stands for any longer.”
After the initial comeback post their Instagram would see some more coverage even calling their fans to send in their grievances about the name change for an upcoming song/music video. That song would materialize into “Punk’s Dead” which was released on August 21, 2023. This song is a proving ground that while the band name will be changed the band won’t be changed. It is a hard hitting and brutally honest song in every aspect. It starts with ambient noise before guitarist, bassist, and background vocalist Laurie Vincent comes in with an infectious riff on the guitar that is continuous for the rest of the song. The guitar work in this is nothing new for the duo but it’s what makes their music so great to listen to. It is fun, catchy, and helps drive the music while adding to the ambience the lyrics provide. Drummer and vocalist Issac Holman provides an intense and pulse pounding drum beat that beats into your soul thanks to the mixing of the track.
Lyrically, the song is a tackling of the criticism of the change that some fans and non fans have had towards the group changing. The roughness of the instrumentals adds a bit of a satirical tone to the lyrics due to a lot of the criticism stating that the band would become “soft” due to the change so the duo take advantage of those claims. “Is this another publicity stunt?/Thought you were rowdy/Thought you were punks” are just some of the digs the band makes at the haters that are judging them for their decision. Not only are they digging at naysayers of the band but anti PC culture as a whole. “I don’t like change/Punk’s dead, pushing up daisies/Come and get a load of these P.C. babies”, I would even go to argue that lyrics such as those are as punk as it gets going against the anti PC culture. They aren’t at this alone bringing along Robbie Williams, none for his solo career as well as pop group Take That. Williams takes over during the bridge of song repeating the same six lines twice. Taking on the perspective of the listeners who are upset saying “I love you but I disagree/This is bull****/And I just wanted you to know” while recordings of actual criticisms from fans being played in the background until the band comes back in for a third verse and final chorus.
SOFT PLAY have never been shy of criticizing or commenting on the masses in the past. This track is no different proving that the band is not lightening up any time soon. This comeback entails great things for the group musically going forward, it also contradicts the title proving punk is still alive and well thanks to bands like SOFT PLAY. The band also recently announced surprise sets at Reading & Leeds! If you would like to learn more you can check out their website.