Soft Fangs, “Dog Park”

Amelia Pitcherella

There’s something about home recordings that breathes life back into the ordinary. Brooklyn’s John Lutkevich knows this, and he’s been making tunes in his parents’ attic in Massachusetts under the moniker Soft Fangs that bloom delicately out of everyday themes. Released last week, his eponymous five-track EP collects a quiet intensity as it recalls suburban scenes and unsettled relationships.

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The video for “Dog Park” feels like a home video of a friend. There’s no narrative, nothing to really think on, and no dog park to speak of—we’re just watching Lutkevich drift through town on his skateboard in the fall. But the experience of watching becomes something we can take pleasure in—everything’s been slowed down a bit so that each of his movements is tangible, each little phase of each trick and stumble apprehended. The sound of the board is there in slow motion, too, and the lull of the tune cushions its impact. It brings to mind Pinback or Elliott Smith with its soft acoustic fingerpicking under some brighter riffs and lightly crashing drums, while Lutkevich’s doubled vocals are all his own. He coos his words softly so that we can make out just a few at a time, but those that we can catch align comfortably with the quiet action of the video. When Lutkevich is moving in reverse, step by step, his back toward us, it’s hard not to feel the resonance of “the warm idea of fading out.”

You can stream the soft fangs EP on Bandcamp, and it’s available now on cassette from Seagreen Records.

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