Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Reviews:: All Smiles Ten Readings Of A Warning

It’s so easy to become accustomed to the sounds and styles of a front man from a great band. You start to forget the contributions of the other members in the band, and out of nowhere, you are hit with a solo record that is a complete change of pace from the music the band creates together.

I remember hearing the first Cub Country record, and being completely blown away. Jets to Brazil moved distinctly along Blake’s vision, so to hear Jeremy playing stripped down rootsy/Americana was a big change-up.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, the new All Smiles record (Ten Readings Of A Warning) – the moniker of former Grandaddy guitarist, Jim Fairchild – is an interesting listen to say the least. Grandaddy’s sound was so distinct, especially Jason Lytle’s voice, that hearing Jim’s lo-fi, fuzz filled piano driven tracks is surprisingly refreshing.

From the opening chords of Killing Sheep, Jim relies on sparse, intimate arrangements, as opposed to the temptation to make the sounds bigger than they need to be, or that lyrics can support. The dusty/twangy style of Killing Sheep continues for the majority of the record (tracks like Backward Forward Through really shines, especially with the delicate piano bridge), but that’s not to say it sounds similar. The summery feel of the appropriately titled, Summer Stay is a warm poppy track that completely contrasts the sensitive piano ballads like Of Course It's Not Up To Me.

Considering the record was made on a shoe-string budget, it is very cohesive and well thought out. Adding well placed guitar solos and gentle builds (like the outro to Sprinting Hyphens) keeps the record moving, without losing the overall aesthetic. The strongest tracks are the fuzz filled, piano heavy Moth in a Cloud of Smoke and spacey/Beatles influenced The Velvetest Balloon.

After years of playing the back, I think this record is going to Jim find a new fan base. It won’t be nearly as big, but it will be a very supportive one.
MP3:: The Velvetest Balloon

Website :: label :: tour dates

Posted at 11:24 AM by ack :: 0 comments

add to facebook add to Digg this Googlize this post add to Yahoo

Post a Comment