Five friends from Reading and London formed SMILE back in 2009, although the photo on the Press sheet shows only three members, so I’m not sure if they’ve shrunk in the process of maturity.
And while singer Chris Relevitch concedes that opening track ‘Closer’ sees him ‘singing the most infantile, dumb shit’ it is indeed a ‘mature’ sound that SMILE have It may hark back a decade or two perhaps, but their smooth, shuffling style reflects one of the few brilliant late Eighties / early Nineties styles before the whole music scene went tits-up and became forever ‘disposable.’
For me, ‘Closer’ especially has the hushed-rock and danceable beat the likes of that produced by several Manchester bands of that era – in particular The Mock Turtles. The song quickly falls into that shuffling, trippy-like groove and could just go on and on and on as far as I’m concerned.
‘Nightlife’ is really just more of the same, but who’s complaining? ‘Swim,’ is slightly slower of pace. The drums are given more prominence and the song rises and falls in intensity with, like the other tracks good, strong little solo guitar bursts.
I like the title ‘Karma Comedian’ which closes the EP. This one differs in that it has a harder edge and really rocks out a lot more than the others, with little psych flashes in places. The vocals still retain that distinctive, slightly muffled sound and once again the listener can plunge into a bit of a psychedelic guitar freak-out towards the track close.
The harmonies are strong throughout all four songs and at times I am also reminded a little of early Teenage Fanclub and BMX Bandits. With reference points such as those mentioned, it is easy to see why SMILE have garnered support and plays on the likes of BBC6 Music and XFM.
I would expect to be hearing a bit more.
(Self-released on 11th April 2011 – www.myspace.com/wehatesmile )