The Smith Street Band – More Scared of You Than You Are of Me (Album Review)
“She yelled Jesus He’s a f**king loser” and no other album will ever really matter. The Smith Street Band‘s newy More Scared of You Than You Are of Me is something far beyond what you would expect from the Melbourne 4 piece. The opening song Forrest roars open with fast pace pounding drums from Chris Cowburn and some very differently passionate vocals by singer Wil Wagner. It flows into the previous released and delightful little Birthdays which is such a cute love song, that changes and drops tone to perfection with Wil’s vocals accompanying the band to an intensity that is enough to make you cry.
The fourth song on the album is a song Wil originally started playing solo and when I heard the band version of Song For You live back in September last year I was blown away, the album version is close to speechless (wordless?). It has captured me more than the song that made me fall completely in love with these guys, Belly of Your Bedroom. Starting with a really fast paced marching band style drum intro that gets your heart racing before Wil’s vocals grab you and take you on a journey of one of the best pieces of lyrically written chorus’ I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. The build at the end, the build at the end, good god almighty JR the build at the end, Wil Wagner just broke my heart.
A very, very different start to a Smithies song, Passiona oozes with intensity, holding your hand the entire way. It’s raw and honest, open and cold, but it never loses you. The guitars at times remind me of Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald and Leigh Hartney‘s old band Hawiian Islands. Lyrics such as 25‘s “I am someone in your passenger seat, I’m your punching bag, I’ll let you kick the living shit out of me and I’ll hold your hand” just destroy your heart, I put Wagner up there with the Jeff Buckley’s of the world in terms of writing.
At times it’s solo and soft, at times it hints at old Smithies but somehow Jeff Rosenstock has managed to capture the Smith Street Band completely and entirely on a record. It paints a picture of an entire relationship while somehow maintaining enough individuality song to song to tell an intriguing and compelling story that will connect to so many people, EVERYONE IS GOING TO LOVE THIS!!!
So apparently there’s heavy Smithies. This is just torn up, it’s punk rock, it’s dark and angry as all hell. The third last song Suffer is probably my favourite song, it’s perfect. Young Once is a beautiful acoustic start that’s smashed by the band’s undeniable talents coming together to tap into the very thought and emotion of any relationship. Laughing or Pretending to Laugh is Rosenstock all over capturing a gut wrenching and heartfelt plea to stop the greatest, most imperfect crashing end to everything, and I just cant stop listening to it. Hats off to everyone involved in this album.
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- Sam Gibson