Friday, August 23, 2013

REVIEW: Smile - Life Choices

Australian readers may conclude that I'm a day late with my review of Life Choices, the debut LP by Melbourne's Smile.  I understand that the release date is August 23, and it is already August 24 in Oz.  But it still is the 23rd in sunny Seattle, so I'm good.  I think.

What Life Choices offers is a very chill version of psychedelic pop.  Electric guitar lines snake through the melodies and the vocals are soft, often languid.  The album is more about atmosphere than hooks, although there are some very nice hooks as well.  What sets this album apart from the large volume of slacker pop is the quality of the songwriting and the musicianship.  Even the the songs that at first listen seem to be simple and unassuming have multiple layers, satisfying riffs and surprising instrumental sections -- a jazz section here, a tropical section there.  And the guitars always sound great.  If I may be so bold as to offer a suggestion for your personal evaluation, I recommend listening to the album on Bandcamp with your earphones, and then do it again.  From personal experience, this album gets better with every play, and it is worth your time to do so.  But hey -- your life, your choices.

Here are tracks four and five.  Both are nice, but I'm particularly fond of the gentle "Born Again" --

Sunni Hart / Born Again by SMILE from MAX TURNER on Vimeo.

Smile are Pete Baxter, Max Turner, Joshua Delaney, Nick Mulhall and Liam Gough.  Life Choices is self-released, and you can buy it via the Bandcamp link below.


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