The Smith Street Band
Life After Football


3.5
great

Review

by YoYoMancuso STAFF
November 26th, 2022 | 96 replies


Release Date: 2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Nothing's ever gonna kill me if I can play guitar and sing

Don’t Waste Your Anger was a notable departure from the status quo for The Smith Street Band, featuring a plethora of amorphous ambient buildups, a Latin-tinged jam session at the end of album highlight “Heaven Eleven”, and above all else, laser-focused song structures. The Smithies’ greatest strength has always been their ability to change the trajectory of a song on a dime, whether it’s the rollercoaster tempo changes of “Get High, See Mice” or the gut-wrenching bridge of “Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams”. Life After Football largely returns to this frenetic style of songwriting, with some of the band’s most mixed results to date. Six albums in, it’s impressive that the ever-growing lineup of the Melbourne outfit have yet to release a truly disappointing record, although the gaps between their hits and misses appears to be growing even faster than their cast of performers.

As was the case with Don’t Waste Your Anger, and to a lesser extent 2017’s More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me, Life After Football enters stage right with a bang and offers three of its most immediately captivating songs right off the bat. “A Conversation With Billy Bragg”, “When I Change My Name”, and “Dilute” are vintage Smith Street Band, from their rollicking guitar leads to their dizzying tempo shifts and anthemic choruses (“Nothing’s ever gonna kill me / If I can play guitar and sing”). Wil Wagner’s unmistakable songwriting voice shines as brightly as ever on these highlights, and even does enough heavy lifting on most of the lowlights to make them somewhat memorable. There are other gems scattered throughout that play to similar strengths, although a concerning amount of them are previously released material; the title track and “I Don’t Wanna Do Nothing Forever” are two of this album’s crowning achievements, and they’ve both already been available to stream for several months. The bookending tracks of “Nightmare” and “I Deserve Love” manage to end the record on a strong and poignant note, but only after stumbling through a volatile collection of sub-3-minute songs that either go nowhere (“Black T-Shirt”), seem to be going somewhere but abandon their journey (“A Conversation With Your Old School Friends”), or occasionally stick the landing with flying colors (“Elvis”).

“Everyone Is Lying To You For Money” is one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard in my life. There are almost no chord changes. The melody is only one note for the entire song, repeated with no rhythmic variety. The chorus excels at getting stuck in my head, but it also excels at being infuriating. The album’s absolutely dynamite opening run is soured by this sorry excuse for a track, which is easily TSSB’s worst offering to date. The way it’s just hilariously sandwiched between two of this album’s most triumphant and beautiful songs cracks me up, but I think I’m just laughing to hide the pain. Life After Football would make a genuine push for a 4 rating without the unfortunate inclusion of “Everyone Is Lying To You For Money”, but it’s still worth checking out thanks to the coexistence of 6 or 7 marvelous cuts that could comfortably stand toe to toe with the band’s previous work. Whereas Don’t Waste Your Anger settled for consistency and made a wonderful album out of it, Life After Football daringly sprints in the opposite direction, crafting an unpredictable and inconsistent excursion with much higher highs and much lower lows than their 2020 effort. It’s easy to be disappointed when the album misses the mark, but it’s simultaneously comforting to see The Smith Street Band making adjustments to their formula and daring to take some risks.



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user ratings (60)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2022


19014 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

apologies for being the first sub-4 rating

Bilbodabag
November 26th 2022


167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty much agree with this review. Was really hoping Everyone Is Lying To You For Money wouldn't make the album, but the rest is pretty on par with their last 2 albums

SlothcoreSam
November 26th 2022


6258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The worst y thing about Everybody is lying to you.....

Is that it never leaves your fucking head, not the way you want to remember the album as everything else on here is great.

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2022


19014 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

It really is a cursed earworm

Trebor.
Emeritus
November 27th 2022


59911 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

very excited



itsalargeboat
November 27th 2022


15 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Everyone Is Lying To You For Money definitely grew on me, but your points on its song structure are valid. Also, Elvis is a jam. Otherwise, I agree with your review.

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
November 27th 2022


19014 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Elvis is one of the better songs here yeah

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
November 27th 2022


2407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love Everyone is Lying to You for Money

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2022


19014 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

my condolences

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2022


4052 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That last para is brutal, I love it (and the song).

Don't really feel like listening to this album, but glad to hear it's another (mostly) hit.

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2022


19014 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

i knew i'd probably catch some heat for that opinion, but i couldn't resist

Hendoi
November 28th 2022


742 Comments


I haven't liked anything this band has done past their earlier folk punk stuff but everyone is lying to you for money is one of the better, more interesting songs they've done.

tom79
November 28th 2022


3939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I remember listening to 'everyone is lying to you for money' when it came out as a single and being pretty turned off by it. It's grown on me more in the context of the album, but yeah the repeating of the title phrase in that way is kinda annoying...yet effective? Also, maybe it's me, but the way Will songs the verses in that song, the rythm and mometum, the elevated talk-singing...it reminds me of Courtney Barnett's "Pedestrian at Best", who I like not but not big on that song.



Anwyay, this might be their best since Throw in me in River. It also might not. But I'm digging it a lot, and it will certainly be one of my most listened to albums this year. I love the energy on it, and Will's sincerity shines as always. Rating it high because I keep listening to it and don't put much stock in ratings anyway.

henryChinaski
November 28th 2022


5057 Comments


loving the album title and artwork

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2022


26397 Comments


cringe release date

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2022


4052 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What's Nov 25?

PitchforkArms
November 28th 2022


2707 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've never been able to get super into these guys - Young Drunk and Sigourney Weaver have been in constant rotation for me for close to a decade, but other than that I haven't really latched on to a release. They can sometimes super swing-and-miss with the v emo simple & literal lyrics for me. Maybe I give this a try(?) or is there somewhere better to jump in? (have heard No One Get's Lost Anymore a few times but it's been years)

SlothcoreSam
November 28th 2022


6258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I'd jump into their EP, Don't Fuck With Our Dreams.



YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2022


19014 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

^^^ probably my 2nd favorite thing they’ve ever released

SlothcoreSam
November 28th 2022


6258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I was at the show, the night after all the shit went down (what the song was about, and where they coined that line, Don't Fuck With Our Dreams, dude from The Bennies said it to the drunk thug who was starting all the violence, after getting smashed by a bottle. Wil gave a big lecture on jocks in the crowd, and how they went down to the beach and finished the set acoustically.

They were touring with Bomb the Music Industry, and the Bennies, i think it was early 2013.



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