Debut album from Winchester three-piece Wild Smiles. Catchy angst pop with a droney harmonic kick, the band have garnered attention from all over the shop, landing an endorsement by Gibson and a string of European live shows. Bit like Dinosaur Junior but with shinier shoes to gaze into. Nice if you like that sort of thing.
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Winchester's finest power-pop trio drop their first album this week. After impressing with a couple of killer singles on Invada, they've taken the sidestep to Sunday Best, but the album's preceding single didn't bode well, trading the JAMC-does-Nuggets charm of the early singles for a fairly straightforward Nirvana pastiche. I'm listening to it now and I'm relieved to report that for the most part this is a solid guitar pop record, although I remain mystified as to why they chose that song for a single. They've found a formula that works for them, and then promoted the album with the one song that sounds like a pale imitation of someone else.
For the most part they're building on the formula they started on those first singles, a hazy and simple indie rock with a thick wall of guitars with a pleasing trebly buzz to them and a tight and functional rhythm section, the trio deliver uplifting Teenage Fanclub-ish pop anthems with a sense of weary shoegazey resignation tempered by some uplifting vocal harmonies, often bringing to mind the likes of Ride, but more than anyone else the band I keep being reminded of is JAMC. They have that same winning mixture of louche delivery, blown out tones and seemingly effortless pop nous. 'The Best Four Years' starts out as an immaculate bit of Charlatans-ish janglepop, building steadily with some good harmonies and ooh-oohs to a passage of repetitive guitar hooks mangled by searing distortion.
Other highlights include opener 'Fool For You' which is like The Seeds gone late '90s grungepop, and the energetic 'Figure It Out' that drags the '60s pop dancehall into their big riffy guitar noise blender with infectious results. 'Girlfriend' is fun too, crunchy Misfits meets Urusei Yatsura rock'n'roll. The single remains a cloying disappointment but these chaps are making some excellent music and I hope it doesn't put people off investigating this because it's a solid album of bombastic power-pop with enough uplifting hooks and disgusting guitar tones to get you through the long winter ahead. If you liked that Twin Peaks album that came out the other week as much as I did, this'll probably be up your street too.
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