Mr Smith

Mr Smith
Demo EP

Mr Smith have packed in their jobs, set up a website dedicated to their music, and are currently attempting to make some cash by giving away their songs for free. Crazy? Maybe. Or perhaps not given that, whether or not the music industry wants to admit it, music distribution is changing a great deal due to this Internet thing the kids keep talking about. (So perhaps it isn’t just porn after all!)

Therefore, the question has to be ‘is it worth registering on their website and downloading the music?’ rather than ‘is it worth spending my hard-earned cash on it?’

‘Work for the Weekend’ answers the question in part with plenty of hooky guitar parts and a good chorus. The overall sound is that of a nineties indie-pop band with hints of The Beatles, a bit of Sugar Ray, and maybe even a touch of Extreme. The lyrics are subtle but infectious and the pace makes this a real sing-along number.

After a promising feedback and fizzing drum intro, ‘Beer Goggles’, gets all funk-rock with lots of wah wah and gritty vocals. I’m not entirely sure if this sound suits Mr Smith, who did so well with the previous effort, but the chorus is another good one, if you can be patient enough to get through the verse. Another bit worth the wait is the humorous acapella section that ends the track.

‘Cliché’ is a mid-paced indie-rocker that could well do something for the band. The verse is out-of-kilter enough to skip around what’s already been done and uses lots of rhythm in the melody to play off the drums before the chorus pops up in a shower of sparkly guitars and emotional harmonies. It’s fair to say that the lyrics fit the title of the song, but there are some sections that are less throw-away than they first appear, making this worth a second listen (which would be justified on the music alone!)

The bizarre retro-electro beat of ‘Shoop Shoop’ combines with barber-shop style vocals to finish off the record on a weird note. There is an eclectic randomness to the instruments although there is a bit of structure under all the noise, which sounds a like a tamed version of Canada’s Slave to the Squarewave.

There are moments in this record where the music is both familiar and safe, but Mr Smith have also added plenty of subtle deviations from the norm that prevent this from being a waste of everyone’s time.

‘Work for the Weekend’ and ‘Cliché’ are obvious winners on this record and if all four tracks had the serious intent of these two songs, you’d be hard pressed to resist the attraction of this band.

Written by Fenton on

Steve Fenton writes in our music, words, and culture categories. He was Editor in Chief for The Mag and covered live music for DV8 Magazine and Spill Magazine. He was often found in venues throughout the UK alongside ace-photographer, Mark Holloway. Steve is also a technical writer and programmer and writes gothic fiction. Steve studied Psychology at OSC, and Anarchy in the UK: A History of Punk from 1976-1978 at the University of Reading.

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