Soviet League - Soviet League (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Soviet League

Soviet League (2010)

Angel Oven

Soviet League is the joining of the Sugarplastic's Ben Eshbach and the Autumns' Matthew Kelly (with a host of other members)–two veteran acts that have thus eluded this reviewer. Thusly, this self-titled debut is being looked at as free of bias as possible, and without any of that foresight, it's a pretty enjoyable effort.

Soviet League essentially provides melody-drenched, occasionally psychedelic pop somewhere along the Flaming Lips spectrum, and actually manages to meet up with that band's sprawling versatility. Opener "Row" has an immensely catchy whistling part, while violins accompany "Delaware" to give it a slight orchestral push without overdoing it, though the latter's smeary atmosphere becomes incrementally grating until some heavy bass tones plow through it for some dynamism.

Some definitively big, bustling alt-radio tones crop up on "The Mirror", but the band still pulse the dancier track with a dizzying electronic element to give it some edge, despite the prettier vocals. "The Owl" is the logical reaction, following that track by stripping things down and offering quirky indie pop.

There's pretty straight-up Beatles worship for "Girl", though the very beginning might make you want to sing the the "jitterbug" part from Wham!'s "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go". "Nurse Down" shows off some falsetto and more '60s/'70s psychedelic influences–dude should swap some mixtapes with Steve Brodsky.

By "Keep Sleeping" (track 10), Soviet League seems to wear out its welcome some, but that's kinda okay, because it's only two tracks from ending. All told, it's a pretty solid listen, with a handful of isolated moments that might just make the project's LP a keeper for some.

Soviet League