Review Summary: A borderline classic 5-track EP that is bound to make fans out of first-time listeners, and devotees out of fans.
What is Punk? Wikipedia defines Punk Rock as, “fast, hard-edged music, typically with short songs, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics.” However, the Punk genre has come under deep scrutiny with many of the big names “selling out”, or forsaking attitude and quality for fame and money; you know, what normal people would do. But I digress. Fact is, despite all the criticism, there is no doubt that Punk Rock has played an important part in shaping the present state of modern music, and continues to be a major force throughout all the drama.
A relatively newer name in the scene is Melbourne, Australia’s The Smith Street Band
. In a short career of only 5 years, they have amassed quite the reputation with every album of theirs receiving widespread critical acclaim. Their latest offering, 2013’s Don’t F*** With Our Dreams
, was released, then, to massive expectations. But challenges only bring out the best in men, and if this album is anything to go by, the saying has never been truer.
Don’t F*** With Our Dreams
is as unabashed and untamed as the album title would suggest. Not one moment is wasted in stating their intents clear, and the eponymous album opener is quite cleverly crafted. What is more respectable, though, is the fact that they are not afraid to surprise. Just when you think you know the direction in which the song is going, they bring one out of left field. And the climactic onslaught is even better for that. They don’t allow the momentum to cease, though, and the opener quite metaphorically leads into one of the highlights of the 5-track EP.
“Ducks Fly Together” is another dose of variety, and holds your attention throughout its 3 and a half minute length. And although one of the lines in the chorus can quite comically be misheard as “I miss your butt”
, it’s only one of those instances where the listener is made to question if this was an intentional Easter egg. And it’s this clever songwriting that ultimately becomes the major take-away from this effort.
I mentioned variety before, and that is what amazes me about this EP the most. In just 5 tracks they’ve shown just about everything that they are capable of and it is bound to make fans out of first-time listeners, and devotees out of fans. And when they claim to start something “Bigger Than Us”, you know they’re not bluffing.
If I had to levy a criticism – if we can call it that – at this EP, it’d be that it’s perhaps a bit too accessible. Even when you know that the band is entirely in their element, they never reach the kind of angst that’d be expected of an album with such a name. But – and excuse me if I’m getting overtly philosophical here – it rather seems intentional to me. So, even if it might seem that I’m contradicting myself here, I’m only asking you to read between the lines, and not take the music or the lyrics for their face value. There is lot more depth, a lot more variety, and a lot more finesse than a casual listen might tell you. They don’t want worldwide fame because they thrive in rarity and rawness.
So, to answer the opening question of this review, quite undoubtedly, The Smith Street Band is
: Ducks Fly Together, Bigger Than Us