Soft Spot completes Clem Snideís journey from roots-punk band to purveyors of smart, affable love songs. Singer/songwriter Eef Barzelay may be tapping into his romantic side, but the band never let his songs devolve into syrupy pap. And Barzelay himself stays away from broad generalities and predictable clichés to focus in on the little things, like tickled feet, Al Green tunes, and a "God bless you" response to his loverís sneeze. He sings with goofy abandon on "Action" and tender restraint on "Strong Enough to Doubt." Multi-instrumentalists Pete Fitzpatrick (of Bostonís Pee Wee Fist) and Jason Glasser, bass player Brendan Fitzpatrick, and drummer Eric Paull provide the joyous and sometimes intricate backdrops that complement the emotions of each lyric, from the horn-fueled "Happy Birthday" to the soft, jazzy waltz of "Forever, Now and Then." The result is a happy, summery take on romance that should penetrate the hardened exteriors of even the harshest cynics.
(Clem Snide play the Paradise next Friday, June 27 with Lisa Germano and the Pee Wee Fist. Call 617-562-8800.)