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Your new 5 favorite songs
Posted by: aedanh from: Baltimore MD on
Smash Palace "Extended Play" is the 10th album for this talented NJ based, power pop band and is their first venture into a shorter (5 song) EP release format. The Butler brothers, Steve and Brian, again in collaboration with Fran Smith Jr. (bass and vocals) and David Uosikkinen (drums) have dipped their creative brushes in the palette of their musical inspirations (I.e. Byrds, Beatles, Badfinger) and produced 5 brand new songs. While traces of roots are always present, they pleasantly coexist with the band's original style and signature and, thus, transcend becoming overtly derivative of their inspirations to become something pure and original. That is the magic of Smash Palace.
Musically, the CD is beaming with warm overdriven electric guitars, driving rock and roll beat, vibrant lead and harmony vocals and impressive chiming electric 12 string guitar that would make Roger McGuinn take notice. Steve Butler is at his artistic and technical height with the guitar work on this album and Brian Butler's vocals are as strong and colorful as they were in the 80s.
Lyrically, there are some familiar Smash Palace themes but presented on a fresh canvas. "Isn't It Just Like Me" opines of constant failure in a relationship due to just being yourself.
"Cos isn't it just like me
To cause all this pain and misery
That's why I'll be free eternally
Isn't it just like me"
Check out the impressive Badfingeresque guitar solo on this number.
"Walk Alone" takes a deeper step into melancholy and regret for the loss of a precious relationship.
"It takes time to figure out what's yours and mine
I've been waiting, waiting for a sign
To tell me that you want me
Should have shown, me the way but, baby, now you've gone
Flew away and left me on my own
I want you here beside me
But if you gotta go, then I walk alone"
This number features more jangling 12 string work as well as a catchy chord progression and perfect vocal harmonies. This is archetypal power pop.
The emotional roller coaster continues with "Can't Stop Myself" with feelings of despair marked by darker lyrics, a funked up bassline and jagged, cutting guitar riffs reminiscent of late period Beatles.
"Feels so all alone, Ever since we parted
Wishin there was a way, To get back where we started
Is it just a case, Of blind infatuation
Maybe I should take, A long deserved vacation
Cos I don't want to think about tomorrow
That's something in the future I can't see
And what's the use of trying to hide my sorrow
This feeling that's inside of me
It won't let me think cos' I can't stop myself"
"Hold On" is a classic Smash Palace composition that pleads for holding onto conviction and aspirations despite the incessant cruelty the world spits at you. This is the story of Smash Palace, and the pursuit the dreams of the Butler brothers from their youth.
"Got a new inspiration, Won't let you be
Thought it was something, That'll set you free
Stuck here in a corner. Sweat stinging your eyes
Visions of your salvation, Disappear into lies
Hold on to what you once believed in. Hold on now
You know that life can be deceiving. Hold on now
Cos baby this ain't a game
And when you see what remains
Of all the heartache and pain
Won't you do it again?"
The album rises from desperation and closes on a note of profound optimism with exhilaration of a new found love with "Again and Again".
"I was here out on my own I was satisfied
Never one to question why
Working so hard on my new greatest enterprise
Counting the stars in the sky
She comes right out of nowhere
I wanna see her again and again
Feel her arms wrapped around me
Your love it astounds me again and again"
It features another earworm chord progression, jangly 12 string solo and some cool, subtle electronic sounds on this number, something new for this band.
All in all, this album, albeit shorter than a traditional Smash Palace album, is a hallmark of some of the best songwriting this band has produced to date. Smash Palace continues to evolve and grow. The production of EPs, vice monolithic albums, creates opportunity for more new music, sooner. And that's a good thing.
Now stop reading and buy the CD!!
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