Last year was significant for these boys from Sydney as it gave them their first taste of commercial success. With some real gains made at radio and TV, with all three of their last singles attracting a substantial amount of attention, they look poised to enter the next stage of their blossoming career.
This latest release, Smile, is not only a self-assured, well-written power pop song but it also signifies an important progression for the band. Yes, the organic nature of their sound is still intact with guitar-driven indie flavours tastefully accentuated by yearning vocals and harmonies but there is a maturity seeping into their songwriting which can only bode well for their future. Despite the good-natured, earnest lyric which is perhaps one of the attributes of the band that’s registering with audiences everywhere, it’s the melodic structure and arrangement choices the band has made on this latest record which seem to jump out. The guitar riff intro segues into an upbeat rhythm, with layers of guitars that quickly make way for an assured vocal performance throughout.
The band go through a cycle of verse and chorus twice before a bridge section takes hold, which is the highlight of the song, a meditative and dreamy section awash with evocative vocals. It is in this particular part of the song, which happens twice, that one can hear the potential and musical possibilities of the band. All the elements of their sound are there, the rawness, the organic nature but there’s a hint of something else, which emphasises the pop characteristics without sacrificing any energy or any of the band’s youthful playfulness. Another contributing factor to this sense of openness about the record is that the production is assisting the song. Nothing’s getting too squashed by compression allowing a passionate and live sound to be at the fore without becoming small or flat.
Smile marks a step in the right direction for these guys and one that will no doubt bring them great rewards.
Ah, the year 2000. The music world was quite different then. I think I was …