Sunday, February 22, 2009

Smile Brigade show review in STRANGER

Smile Brigade, Spanish for 100, the Globes, Lord Dog Bird(High Dive) Seattle's Smile Brigade are a cutesy, crafty indie-pop band (they tucked a white paper cut-out snowflake in their hand-screened-looking brown cardboard EP packaging, for instance), fond of slightly twangy acoustic instrumentation accented with strings and xylophone, all led by J. Hiram Boggs's intentionally gruff-but-wispy singing. That singing can get a little too affected at times, the whisper growl summoning visions of bad coffeehouse open mics, but for the most part (excepting, say, "Smile and Smile") the EP is pleasant, its songs ably constructed, musicians on their marks. Inexplicably, "Daddy's Heart" steals snatches of Modest Mouse's "Other People's Lives" ("...on the side of the road/Out of existence/And I should've known") and weds them to a bouncy pop number that feels forgettably light in comparison (other people's songs, I suppose). A fine but hardly momentous effort.

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