It’s time to stop the water works and put on a SMILE. In case you haven’t noticed, slacker rock is alive and well in the vivacious city of Melbourne. Lads Pete Baxter, Max Turner, Josh Delaney and Liam Gough are the latest successors of the genre and the result is leaving us grinning broadly.
Has the slacker rock bubble burst? Heck no, there’s plenty of talent out there making the scene their own. So get your pearly whites out for Melbourne’s SMILE.
Their latest single Holiday is a lively, up-tempo song, dominated by the beat of the drums and rhythm of the bass guitar. The crash of the cymbals throughout the song can’t be ignored and the repetitive pulse of the bass makes you want to bop your head the whole way through. The strength in the instruments create thunderous sounds, an edgy and captivating number.
A1 Blvd and B1 Ruby are the good cop bad cop of SMILE’s music. A1 Blvd is a ballad of the slacker rock genre and the good cop. It’s easy listening but powerful. A ballad doesn’t solely rely on music; the passion is in the lyrics. “It’s a crazy world I’ve got you in / Don’t have a clue how any body wins / Baby it’s a one way boulevard, baby it’s a dead end.” The words alone portray disappointment and lack of hope, two common feelings. When combined with the deep music, those emotions start to surface within the listener and the lyrics become even more mesmerizing.
Bad cop is B1 Ruby. This is the heavier side of slacker rock. The vocals aren’t soft or clear but loud and rough, while the music is repetitive with minimal lyrics. Rather than creating an atmosphere through words, the tension builds through the instrumentals and is liberated in the chorus. Rather than speaking to the listener, it’s as if the song wants to disorientate and bewilder them with the sudden musical changes and abrupt ending.
Vocalist Pete Baxter has praised Melbourne for being “an amazing city for music, best in the world”, but he feels as if people in Melbourne don’t care for a slacker rock band. Nevertheless, looking at the bigger picture, SMILE has a hefty following on their Facebook and SoundColoud. “A lot of those soundcloud plays are international. People seem to like us more abroad in the UK, US and Brazil” says Baxter.
Although international stardom doesn’t seem to be the band’s main intention, it’s definitely a confidence boost knowing people around the world are listening and enjoying their music.