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The Smith Street Band
- Sunshine & Technology

Packing some serious folk-punk chops, they have been deservedly enjoying some pretty rapturous buzz.

Alex Wilson

Sep 6th 2012 | Label: Poison City Records
There's a time. Let's say it's your mid-twenties for the sake of argument. You've been the cause and effect of some heartbreaking. You're wiser than you've ever been but you still haven't given up on your hedonism. You're watching friends settle down alongside the straight and narrow while you yourself teeter uncomfortably on the threshold between responsibility and recklessness.

These everyday quarter-life crises are the bread and butter of Sunshine And Technology, the latest from The Smith Street Band. Packing some serious folk-punk chops, they have been deservedly enjoying some pretty rapturous buzz.

Much of this is due to Wil Wagner, whose lyrics and vocals avoid the navel-gazing whininess that plagues so many heart-on-sleeve songsmiths. His voice is wavering but gutsy and he shines when delivering his dense and wry lyrics as sugary pop hooks that just melt in your mouth. This balance between introspection and extroversion shows up beautifully in tracks like Why Can't I Draw and the excellent title track which opens up the album.

The rest of his band play the hell out of their instruments all the way through the album, equally able to conjure up a face-melting wall of math-punk fury or a sunny indie-pop groove. Yet, for all its lovable moxie, Sunshine And Technology might have benefited from a bit more stylistic exploration; a feeling of sameness begins to weigh the album down in its last third. It's not until the closer Don't Mention The War that The Smith Street Band truly step off the gas for some rustic folksiness. The results are devastatingly poignant.

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