“Here, review this,” my boss tells me, slicing a cardboard CD case through the air. It is a four track EP from some band I’ve never heard of called Smile. Why does he do this to me? What is the point of giving me, the cynical hater of all music produced in the last five years, a new EP to review?! I’ll just hate it. Let me crap on to paper, there, print that. That’s what I think of your music, if so it can be called.
“Review it, or no monkey chow.” Yes boss. With a long-suffering sigh I put the CD in the machine and wait for the sonic diarrhoea to roll over me.
But, hark! What is this? That’s a pretty crisp guitar. Those vocals sound…authentic. Could this band actually be… not bad?! Worse than that, they’re good. Smile are a Sydney-based four-piece who describe themselves as post-emo-neo-melodic-death-rock-comedy-metal, a genre specifically created to subsume and ingest all others.
Axiomatic is the first track. Maybe it’s just the production, or maybe it’s that I haven’t slept for a while, but James Dorney’s guitar licks are sizzling. Riffs of clarity slide easily into hardcore thrash, with a charismatic growl coming from vocalist Ron Smyck.
Next up is Do It Again (But Like Robots). I hope you will forgive me for this comparison, but it sounds like Faith No More – the harmonic choruses and layered guitars provide a textured sky against which the vocals soar. Smyck really does have a great range, perfectly suited to this kind of music.
Third track Cookies has vocals that are again reminiscent of Mike Patton. The bass and drums (Nathan P Wong and Luke Davison respectively) are seamlessly in time, keeping the chaos trapped in order.
Finally there is Eat, the only track that didn’t immediately grab me. It’s longer than the others and it seems to get a bit lost in structure but pulls it together towards the end to drive it home with an epic finale. I think it will require a few listens to really get your teeth into this track.
So, my cynicism swept away in surprise, I find myself forced to recommend that you give these guy a listen. Not because my boss is threatening me with starvation – but because they may actually be the best new music you hear this month.
Check em out at http://www.myspace.com/thesmileband