The Cold World Melts EP
A few years back, with terrific singles from Glass Candy and Chromatics perpetually materializing, Portland seemed like the country's unlikely Italo-disco mecca. Both bands were the production of lone dude Johnny Jewel, though, and his recent ebb in prolificacy almost entirely dispersed the illusion of a chilly, northwestern pleasuredome. Soft Metals grope for the city's passed Giorgio Moroder geek-out torch, but the duo's debut EP, The Cold World Melts, fumbles the handoff. Ian Hicks does have a knack for looping minimal synth tones like ice-water shocks. When he shifts the title track into second gear, you feel the kick. Vocalist Patricia Hall just hasn't elbowed enough room for herself in the mix. She stalls at pleasantly forgettable, when hedonistically narcotized or suggestively brazen could've made all the difference.