Smoke Bellow

Smoke Bellow

Smoke Bellow

Open For Business

Trouble in Mind

I forget who said, “It’s not the notes, it’s the space between the notes.” The Baltimore by way of Australia band Smoke Below lives by that axiom. The music on Open for Business makes use of minimal elements to make an expansive, inviting sound. The album title is an invitation to come in and look around.

“Furry Computer 2” is built around organ drones, repeated guitar figures, off-kilter drum rhythms and a catchy horn riff. It reminds me of the minimalist, art pop of Laurie Anderson in her “O Superman” mode. “Fuck On” has a drum line that sounds like Emmanuel Nicolaidis is hitting random items in his kitchen, which reminds me of some Tom Waits material. The song has a simple but funky guitar riff and Meredith McHughs deadpan vocals remind me of the Young Marble Giants. “Wrong Size” is held together by little more than a bass line.

Open For Business is a slinky, seductive slice of minimalist pop. I find myself being hypnotized by the simple but not so simple melodies and McHughs delightfully deadpan delivery. I think I’ll sign up for the customer loyalty card.

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