While Soft Absolve may serve as Gumsmile's first cohesive step into the electronic music landscape, he’s no stranger to visceral heaviness, having spent years playing guitar in several hardcore outfits. This may help to frame the space in which Soft Absolve exists — bristly, gnashing synths clash against relentlessly pummeling percussion and throbs of bass, while demented vocal snippets weave around uneasily. "Popped In" pushes and pulls you around, disintegrating at points to near noise, only to crash in again like a machine — clicking, whirring, and pulsating. "Watch the Phonies" takes a more direct aim at the dance floor — staccato clacking, threatening voices, and saw basses hang firmly to a 4/4 framework that only lets up to create space for its anti-euphoric pads to speak. "Bact" feels eerily alive — insect-like chirps and clicks move around the listener while thudding kick drums act as a heartbeat amidst a horror film soundscape.
Soft Absolve features some familiar Drama Hands names on remix duties — Boogie Howser completely flips "Popped In" on its head, taming it with his signature lush, dreamy 2-step sound. Spurz’s 'Teardown' remix of "Watch the Phonies" adds 90s tribal house sensibilities, readying it for a warehouse space, and picoVolt reworks the jutting angles of "Bact" into a breathy techno roller that stays true to the original's organic message.