SMITH STREET BAND’s brand of indie punk leaves nowhere to hide, no veil to cower behind. Lead vocalist Will Wagner puts everything out in the open, almost like a confessional conversation with a friend.
Their brazenly attitudinal and personal approach will either be a good or bad thing depending on what you’re looking for. If you want experimentalism or poetic leanings this may not be your thing. Punk rock and its many forms have always been divisive, as such a personalised genre and movement. Odds are though if you’re listening to ‘Sunshine & Technology’ you have discovered them at a local pub, through a friend or as an ardent fan who wanted their next dose after last year’s ‘No One Gets Lost Anymore’.
For those who enjoy half-sung half-spoken style vocals, catchy punk/surf riffs and sweaty hooks you will find more than enough solace in these here humble 10 tracks. Efforts like ‘Stay Young’ and ‘When I Said Us I Meant Them’ sum up their appeal perfectly. Wagner covers topics that anyone listening can relate to, from youthful indiscretions and young love to rebellious tendencies and discontent. The instrumental backing meanwhile is melodic and catchy, with just enough harshness around the edges, matching the force of the lyrics. As the album title suggests, you get a full picture of what the band is all about and the picture you get is of a much more fully formed band, compared to their debut.
Songs such as ‘I Can’t Feel My Face’ are damn infectious and are made for audience participation. It’s hard to not relate to lines like “we get high because we’re afraid of time.” Wagner’s heavily Australian accented vocals are pushed out with such intensity like he couldn’t wait to get some shit off his chest. One of the key ingredients, at least to this reviewer, that adds to the listening experience is the slow build for many of the songs. Rather than jump straight into things like a pop punk power ballad SMITH STREET BAND choose to build momentum before reaching the satisfying climax of the chorus. ‘Tom Busby’ achieves this perfectly and is another clear stand out.
As far as their progression as a band and as a modern take on classic punk rock aesthetics ‘Sunshine & Technology’ is about as good as it gets right now.
- Sunshine & Technology
- I Can’t Feel My Face
- I Want Friends
- Why I Can’t Draw
- Stay Young
- What’s Changed
- Tom Busby
- Young Drunk
- When I Said Us I Meant Them
- Don’t Mention The War
Words by Andrew ‘Hazard’ Hickey