Smother, 'Great White Hoax.'
(Global Warming Records)
Smother have been a busy band of late. After releasing two singles
and their debut album 'Great White Hoax,' the three piece are now embarking
upon a UK tour.
Smother are a band with attitude, with a rebellion to life's mediocrity
that runs throughout this fantastic album.
'This Generation Cannot Say No' opens the proceedings, capturing the
angst that drive the band setting the mood for rebellion. 'It's getting
harder to wake up,' Luke Branch sings in an angry yet smooth and rich
voice. It's edgy punk with energy.
Smother formed in 2002 by musicians Branch, Leon Marshall on bass and
vocals, and Dave Lucas on drums and vocals. They paid for the recording
costs by working two jobs each for six months, a passion and commitment
to what they do that shows through the music in droves.
The album, although capturing their unique sound, shows Smother in a
variety of different emotions and situations. 'Understand' is played
tenderly as a contrast to the rebelliousness found in earlier tracks,
breaking into foo-fighters style crashing rhythms and a memorably beautiful
melody. The refrain drives the drums to build atmospheric tension which
crashes back through to truly awesome guitars. The track then is at
its most poignant when it strips back the layers to reveal naked vocals,
revealing the multi-layered functions of this band.
'Find a Happy Place' deals with the feeling of trying to feel happy
anywhere, even if you know deep down it's in the wrong place.
The best track on the album comes three quarters of the way through,
in terms of both melody and style. 'Toy' is concerned with relationships
and partners, sexual chemistry and power games. Melodically the tune
is a brilliant sparkly indie-rock song with hints of power chases below
the surface. The voice is joined by heavy instruments as the band sing
'I toy with you lately' overlaid by another singing 'toy, toy, toy.'
The verse returns at that point with a tightly structured flawless four
lines before launching back to crescendo.
The track is infectiously catchy and brilliantly crafted, demonstrating
Smother's special skill in stripping instruments down to bring them
back with great effect. More importantly, the track gives us listeners
the chance to hear the band sing about their sexual politics.
And that's the clincher for Smother. Not only are their crashing guitar
riffs and kick-ass vocals amazing, they ooze sex appeal. They've got
everything and should have an amazing career ahead.
By Charlotte Cairns