Soft Fangs Credit: Nathaniel Salfi

When singer-songwriter John Lutkevich wrapped up last year’s The Light (Disposable America/Exploding in Sound), his debut full-length as Soft Fangs, he told Independent Music News that he “became obsessed with the idea of transcendence, of struggling through something in order to reach a higher state.” It’s unclear what, if anything, Lutkevich may have been struggling with personally, and that lack of definition allows The Light to breathe: trembling guitars, mumbling vocals, and whispering electronic blips exude a deep sense of sorrow as they shade in emotions rather than articulate them. What is more definitive is Lutkevich’s musical evolution. Since Soft Fangs’ self-titled 2014 debut EP, he’s figured out how to make his swelling notes land with more force, in part because he’s learned how and when to trim his instrumentation. He’s also become more adventurous while maintaining Soft Fangs’ mellow intimacy. Some of the best moments on The Light are when Lutkevich fiddles with lo-fi electronics, be it the aquatic tick-tock percussion on “Back of a Horse” or the muffled, arrhythmic loop of what sounds like a field recording of an owl on “Birthday.”   v