See You in the Dark
Sisters Mercedes and Phoenix Arn-Horn chose the band name Softcult because they wanted listeners to critique the institutions they so often pledge blind allegiance to (according to Mercedes, the name should “make you question which soft cults you are a part of”). They also enjoyed the tension which “soft” and “cult” produced by being placed next to each other.
Contrary to this conflict, their latest EP See You in the Dark builds upon their previous music both musically and politically, delivering something more harmonious, reflective, and lyrically mature. The Arn-Horn sisters show their mastery at creating catchy melodies soaked in reverb, continuing to draw inspiration from riot grrrl bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile while arming themselves with a dreamy Deftones-esque guitar tone. It’s subversive art at its finest—music designed to question and destabilize patriarchal thinking.
According to the duo, this latest EP is about facing the darkest parts of our psyches that we’d rather avoid. To an extent, this is true—there’s an element of autobiographical introspection by the songwriters as they delve into personal insecurities, frustration, and anger on tracks like “Love Song,” “Spoiled,” and “Someone2me.” However, on the latter track, as well as on “Drain” and "Dress,” they also spend time diving into the darker aspects of society that we tend to avoid collectively. On opening track, “Drain,” they condemn the one percent’s shameless greed and unwillingness to create any sort of positive meaningful change, while on “Dress” they bemoan the notion that the way women present themselves is an invitation for harassment (this song lends the EP its title: “See you in the dark / On the street, following me”).
Society and the individual clash on See You in the Dark, and this friction works well. Thematically, the EP encapsulates the constant battle between these arenas and the duality of the band itself. We create society, and society creates us. Ultimately, Softfcult demand autonomy and to be seen so that they, too, can take part in the process of self-creation.