Honestly, I have never heard of the Smith Street Band. It’s unfortunate, because despite my lack of knowledge about them, they have given me one of the most shocking albums of the year so far. The album is fully produced by Jeff Rosenstock of Bomb The Music Industry, who brings a punk rock and lo-fi vibe to the record. This really helps each and every song become a raw portrait of vocalist Will Wagner’s life. Speaking of the vocalist, the album sports a thick Australian vibe that shows through on the vocals and instrumentation. The album has a hard-nosed edge to it and is reminiscent of emo punk from the early 2000’s, and while some songs can fall short melodically or are filler, the album overall delivers a nice package of catchy punk that has some brutal and relatable lyrics as well. From the loud opener “Forest” that plays around with Will’s relationships to the power pop anthem “25”, this record surprised the shit out of me.
The entire record has a free form to it while containing some great, tight performances and amazing hooks. The album flew under the radar entirely to me, and I’m shocked considering how immediate every song is. The only reason I can see why this project can be off-putting is the aforementioned vocals that have a very strong Australian accent to them which can be weird for some Americans to hear considering the vocals cut through the instrumentation on every track. I recommend this album to fans of rock emo and even people who are just getting into pop-punk in general.