Listening to the opening moments of Smyer, or even during the terrific and exuberant title track, the thought of a young Paul Westerberg and younger Tommy Stinson comes to mind. “Cherry Chapstick” is a lovable little Midwestern rock gem despite the fact this band is from New York. Go figure. Nonetheless “Cadillac” is another strong pop song (think Afghan Whigs) that bobs and weaves thanks to some great work from the guitar and rhythm section. The intensity and soulfulness of the album comes through with every song, whether it’s the winding “Late Night” or the run-of-the-mill “F Song” which doesn’t drop any F-bombs. Smyer rarely drop the ball or add filler to the proceedings, this despite the fact two five-minute numbers including “Last Car Leaving” are plopped in the middle of the album. There are several standouts here as Smyer don’t reinvent the wheel musically, just put some spit and polish on the hubcaps with “A Million Faces” (again think Afghan Whigs) and the airtight “Soul Crusher” and the dated-dubbed “Reaganomics”.
// Notes from the Road
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