Smilex - X - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

Smilex - X

by Laura McGuinness Rating:7 Release Date:2010-02-22

Oxford natives, Smilex, are a rock 'n' roll band who have gone about things the right way. With a relentless attitude towards touring they've supported the likes of The Damned and The Towers of London (don't let that put you off), stopping along the way to record with rapper MC Lars and indie-rockers Young Knives. Despite no major label involvement or industry support they've continued to do things the hard way, rising up the ranks through determination and sheer hard work, an effort I'm sure anyone can appreciate in the age of reality shows, MySpace crazes and musical manipulation. Produced by Skunk Anansie guitarist Ace, this is Smlex's first release of 2010.

Enticing us with a slow-tempo verse, gently packed with soft guitar riffs and Lee Christian's mix of edgy whispers and rock tinged vocals, the band soon hit us with a big chorus and become a much stronger force. There's a rushing urgency and brilliantly rousing drums that just teeter on the edge of restrained, but I can't help feeling like Christian's vocals are perhaps a little too forced. Their catchy chorus is expertly played and the band really shows off their capabilities and their ability to switch seamlessly between gentle and rough. Although slightly clichéd, Christian's voice is angst filled with just enough repetition to be memorable, making the chorus all the more rocking.

Finishing it off with punk-rock screams the band proves that they can be both messy and melodic, certainly a good combination, but I think the former suits them more. This track has a more polished, less abrasive sound than previous efforts and it's fair to say the band have tidied things up a bit, possibly in the hope that they can capture some of the exposure that has evaded them so far. Here's hoping they don't lose too much of their trademark sound along the way.

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