Melbourne band Smile formed in 2012, when two members dropped out of the unwieldy seven-piece Red Berry Plum, leaving the rest to go it alone. The present line up is led by singer/guitarist Pete Baxter and features Josh Delaney of Rat & Co. and Chet Faker and Max Turner, who also plays in Mouth Tooth.
Smile’s debut album, Life Choices, came out just over a week ago. It’s full of warm, reflective pop songs that fall somewhere between slowcore and slacker rock. Their sound reminds me of Spain‘s mellow hooks – and there’s an appropriate nod to the Velvets in opening track ‘Still Waiting For My Man’. There are some nice Melbourne references on the album, with songs called ‘Pascoe Vale’ and ‘Amess St’, but for some reason it always makes me think of summers in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and the afterglow in your skin when you’ve spent the day in a hot dusty car between beaches.
Smile recently put out a video for ‘Born Again’ – a title which, along with B-side ‘Jesus Song’, hints at some childhood experiences with religion that Baxter’s alluded to in interviews. The single has been neatly prologued with naive love song ‘Sunni Hart’, a short-and-sweet, Lemonheads-style number about a girlfriend with a wonderful name who’s almost too good to be true.