The Designer’s Drugs: Smile Brigade – Do You Come Here Often?

Smile Brigade

Medium: Album

Stimulus: Smile Brigade – Do You Come Here Often?

Anno: 2010

The easy label to affix to Smile Brigade’s breed of music is psychedelic rock; most of the songs on Do You Come Here Often? bear some resemblance to the tunes of the 60s.  “Killjoy Switch,” in particular, sounds like a revamp of “Incense and Peppermints.”  Yet lumping this group in with the hippies would undermine the diversity of its aim.  The brightness of a keyboard track like “Mothers’ Day Song” is able to give way to an unbroken melancholy such as that of “Gold in Them Hills” without becoming unbalanced.  Some of the songs go so far as to take a decidedly modern tack; “Post Script” is a modest piano ballad which brings out some accordion for quirk, and “Esperanto” is a sneering rock track which would be at home in a poorly-lit saloon.

Smile Brigade’s work on Do You Come Here Often? doesn’t coast on retro cred to get its point across.  The songs on this album, while often nostalgia-inducing, bring enough strength to render them original within the many different styles they honor.

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