The Smiles and Frowns - The Smiles and Frowns

by Rich Morris Rating:5 Release Date:2010-08-16

Indebted to Syd Barrett and psychedelics-era Beatles, Arizona duo The Smiles and Frowns have a sweet but wholly trad sound. The opening brace of songs on this debut LP, 'Sam' and 'Cornelius' are both sugary examples of gentle psych-pop, while 'Memory Man' is like a ghostly Paul McCartney song, it's perky piano plod and chippy vocals furled in sound effects of howling wind and echoing train noises.

There's definitely solid song-craft at work here, but since it's put to the service of faithfully recreating such classic sounds, The Smiles and the Frowns actually feels a little hackneyed. It's also set at a permanently lazy pace. 'When the Time Should Come', for example, is an even more unruffled version of The Beatles' 'I'm Only Sleeping'. What may make the album a compelling listen for some are the spacey, eerie effects which swirl around most songs, even if the songs themselves are just inconsequential, pretty folk ditties.

Download 'Cornelius' for free on the Soundblab mixtape.

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