Soft Idiot | photo by Steph Sottolano | courtesy of the artist

Prolific Philadelphia musician Justin Roth makes music under the name Soft Idiot, and his latest release is one of the project’s most ambitious yet. Rain Wins Another Year! is the new full-length from Soft Idiot, and you can hear it first right here. The new album follows stillborn, released in March, as well as a recent split with Lonely Ghost.

The 14-track Rain Wins Another Year! is full of fuzzy sounds that seem sparse on the surface but contain deep, quiet multitudes. According to Roth, the album expands upon the themes first introduced on stillborn, but this time focuses on life rather than death. The songs are lively, yet steeped with haunting undertones, delicate instrumentals paired with vivid imagery of life and nature — the moon, waves, trees and blizzards all make appearances, like character’s in Roth’s album-long story.

The songs flash before you like unassuming, yet sharply poignant vignettes; if you don’t pay close attention, they start to blend together into one meandering journey that lets life take its course. “I want for nothing, I miss a person…you are still shining, you float above me,” Roth sings on standout track “Blizzard/West Coast,” a duet that feels like two ghosts passing in the night. Softer, contemplative songs like “Blanket Snow” and “Wood Tick” are balanced with the jauntily strummed guitar of “I Put a Snowman in the Freezer” and noisy narration of “I Was Born in a Hospital.” Rain Wins Another Year! is full of dynamic ups and downs, telling life’s winding story through Roth’s words and sounds.

Roth says of the album:

I wrote and recorded this album between February and October 2017 across several locations and on several devices. Most of this record was produced in isolation but I had some help along the way from friends – Mike, Sagar, and Cullen played things here and there. My friend Kennedy lent their voice to much of the record, and they also wrote the words and melody to the first verse of “The Drawing Circles,” which remains my favorite piece of music that I’ve worked on.
I don’t know if I tried to write about anything in particular on this album. I brainstormed stories about inclement weather and man-eating rodents and great floods but the songs sprung up sporadic and unfocused. What’s left is music about isolation, distance, complacency, and how to live in the space between all the different relationships. It’s winter songs.

Stream Rain Wins Another Year! below. Soft Idiot plays Lava Space with Coping Skills on December 19th, and is currently announcing some January tour dates; follow along on their Facebook page for more updates, and pre-order the tape of Rain here, via Cheap Plastic Records.