Crafted by Kyle Field as Little Wings, and backed by Adam Forkner and Curtis Knapp, Soft Pow'r listens as a folk album that contains free flowing music that stands above relatively ductile lyrics. Often associated with the rapidly expanding freak folk movement, Field escapes those comparisons by spinning words that emerge from an indiscernible source and reach no specific end point. Little Wings' sound is decidedly mellow, and slow enough at moments to drip from, like a can of honey.
On tracks such as "Beep About," a fluttered piano dances along a bass drawl while Field seems to apologize for an inability to restrain his distraction. Perhaps it is solemnity for modern times, when a synthetic beep can signify a point of demarcation. "What Button" seems to further exclaim that technology creates more struggle than it removes. With hardly a moment for contemplation, Field is harried to make a point of his need for space.
"Free Bird" posits a future when the narrator can sing from his perch, without unnecessary imposition from the wind, or any of the uncontrollable forces that determine our fate. An ode to the working class vacation, "Saturday" is so plush as to be polite. Field waits for the freedom of a Saturday, and upon arriving at his special place, is left hanging by the joy that was supposed to await him: "I waited for you on our hill, and when you came around, nothing but a Saturday." Intentional or not, the subtlety of the music allows enough space for adoration. Though coarse, the lyrics do not detract from the calm that is evident on the album.
The lyrics, music, and message on Soft Power struggle at times to mesh comfortably, as is so often expected from emerging artists. With so much time spent scratching our way up the endless post, that moment of pause is hardly a relief for the specter of repeating that run on the treadmill. Where some see optimism, Field is pensive. He should rather stay on the outskirts, and calmly ride out the wave without knocking others off. • Robert Karmin