Free to Stay
Imagine being 12 or 14 years old, touring with mid-level indie acts like Mates of State and Jimmy Eat World and releasing your second album on Barsuk Records –the label that homed Death Cab For Cutie before they hit it big. Such is the case for Asya and Chloe, the two sisters who make up Smoosh. What’s impressive about these girls is there’s a musical talent and songwriting skill that transcends the standard they’re-so-cute! factor that propels acts like Hanson into the national consciousness. Most of the songs on here are densely plotted but spare in execution. “Gold” features two slowly intertwining of piano lines, while the drums build from a slow groove to a driving dance beat. “Rock Song” rides high on severely distorted electric piano riffing and electro-punk rhythms. The dynamics pulsing through the veins of these songs alone are enough to put most of Smoosh’s touring partners’ arrangements to shame. Of course, youth does rear up occasionally to let everyone know that while these girls are definitely on the right path, they’ll still benefit from a little guidance and growing up. Shaky transitions, extraneous key changes and the unavoidable limitations of being a drums-and-keyboard outfit all assert themselves from time to time over the disc’s fourteen tracks, but even taken together this does little to stall the good vibes and infectious happiness the band creates.
Barsuk Records: www.barsuk.com