The NYC based Soda Shop began as the duo of Drew Driver and Maria Usbeck. "I had some demos and a band name, but I couldn't find the right person to sing on them." Drew recalls. "Fate led me to Maria. We met at a crowded Summer Air France DJ show and talked about music I was making. I invited her to listen to the demos and things immediately clicked!" Both NY transplants, Drew from Ohio and Maria from Ecuador, the two bonded over a shared experience of starting over in an exciting, transient city. When they discovered they lived a brisk ten minute walk from one another, their friendship solidified. They began writing songs immediately. Though neither of them is new to music--Maria fronted the buzz band Selebrities, while Drew had been moonlighting as the guitar player for The Drums--they were impassioned by the sounds they were creating together.
Soda Shop released a single which quickly appeared on UK's BBC 6 and Sweden's P3 Pop. Recently they began playing live shows, enlisting bassist Ed Chittenden and drummer Derek Lucci. They also began recording their first full length record at their home studio. An obsession with nostalgia-induced perfection is evident on the result: 8 tracks that push the limits of simplicity and minimalism. Mixed by Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink), the record worships clean guitar tones, driving bass lines and uptempo beats, a la early Smiths records.
Maria's voice adds an airy-ness to the melodies, furthering an early 4AD vibe. She sounds confident and playful which magnifies the light air of the music and belies the melancholy feelings just underneath. Her honest delivery of such lines as "Please tell me you don't love her" in "Fence" or "She seems to be the one who's there, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not around" in "Longing" immediately make you feel for her. You want her to succeed in her love, but you also feel the desperation of knowing it will never work out. Luckily, the only thing that rivals Maria's relatable love-sick struggles is the undeniable catchiness of the songs themselves. The only truly depressing thing about Soda Shop's new record is when it ends.