Okay, so this has been revolving round my hi-fi for the best part of a month and only now do I find myself reviewing. The reason, aside from being a lazy bastard, was that on the first listen I didn't like it. It was, well, slow. But as with lots of slow albums I thought it might be a grower so I persevered. Turns out I was right.
Alive To Every Smile is a downbeat, largely acoustic, album. Opening track Under Lock And Key starts promisingly with you've got to stop fucking her up, you've got to grow up - sound advice from a man who clearly has had more girls-who-are-friends than actual girlfriends. With Every Story has a lazy drum machine rhythm and some lush synths complementing lyrical comedown after lyrical comedown. Imagine Tim Wheeler singing over a Moby (circa Play) track and you're almost there. Haunted Days continues in much the same vein, as does the remainder of the lp.
The real strength in this cd is not their individualistic take on laid back indiepop but the combination of this and the top level production. This does not sound like an indie release, this sounds like six months in the studio getting every last note and echoey backing vocal just right. That's not to say it's overproduced, far from it, it's just very clear that the band and producer have taken their time getting the whole package just right. Which makes it not only very good, but very personal.
A piece of art, though more Tracey Emin than corporate ice sculpture.
8Andy (quirk) Thomas's Score