Four piece Melbourne outfit SMILE have come a long way since they formed in 2012. Producing a sound that can be described as droned out soft rock with minor hints of dream pop, the band have explored some interesting new ground on their second LP, Rhythm Method.
Rhythm Method is ethereal to the core, managing to provoke a sense of feeling in you without really understanding just what those feelings are. The album opener feels like something out of a horror movie set in outer space, building anticipation for the other seven tracks.
There is a uniquely Australian sound on this album, in the sense that SMILE manage to make it obvious that they’re based in Melbourne despite carving a musical niche that sits somewhere in between Pink Floyd, The Stone Roses and some Californian surf-punk outfit. This idea is evident on tracks like “Cool. I Need Money”, “Holiday” and the appropriately titled “Boundless Plains to Share”.
Crunchy yet eerily dreamy guitar sounds drive Rhythm Method along, and most of the lyrics build on the notion that these guys are part back-of-the-bar-chord-strummer, part philosopher. A line in Central Business Dickheads highlights life’s little inadequacies getting you down: “Got holes in my shoes, got a hole in my pocket, I’ve been feeling out of sorts.” This is heard at the beginning and the end of the song as a precursor to a long, blissful, Led Zeppelin-esque instrumental which gives you time to mull the lyrical message over.
Rhythm Method is dreamy and raw, with an Australian theme that also sounds like something you can’t quite put your finger on. Being unable to work it out is what makes this LP great – it keeps you guessing.
Words by Scott Renton