Smokers Die Younger – X wants the meat
The skinny: Uncompromising music that although sounding aggressive, is curiously ear-friendly.
The review (proper): As once previously stated in this very zine (warning: incoming shameless plug), Smokers Die Younger are pretty hard to describe (and i’m not even pretending to even know how to categorise them).
So instead of waffling this review (not that the editors will notice, they are zoned out with percocets and gin) with the ephemeral search of a genre (their myspace says: “asbomatic, mangular postindie wankathons“. I can live with that) and let’s go into Smokers Die Younger‘s first album, X wants the meat.
Right off the bat, ‘Bad driving school’ it’s the first taste of the raw anger from the band. The apocalyptic tune, with lyrics reminiscent of a bad day of road rage (woohoo! The “c” word!), sets the stage for what follows. Buckle up, it’s a bumpy ride.
The slow, simmering anger flows into all out energy pogo (‘Yer actual’, ‘Five-0’) and there’s even a bit of surf (of the satanic variety, in ‘Rubberlegs’) which some reminiscences of surfing in Brighton. And hey, pulling a song like ‘SDY’, where the NATO alphabet is taken out for a ride, it’s quite a feat.
Although it’s a struggle to find a bad song in this album (although the electronica experimentation at the end of ‘FKUSA’ is befuddling), there’s a trio of songs that require some extra special attention.
This designated (by me, sorry!) “Trilogy of Terrificness” (TM) starts with the “just add alcohol” instant classic ‘I spy dry fear’, with its militaristic snare roll and Amy Dutronc (vocals/autoharp) counting in German (or so it sounds, but it’s the title of the song – clever homophones!). If the first two songs of the album are the anger rising inside, then this one is the anger forming a gang of droogs, doing their thing (drinking milk!)
James Goldthorpe’s vocal chords sure get a working (and having them live, he pulls it well live too)in the album, going from a syncopated singing to a staccato shouting. The former approach is carried on ‘It’s coming straight for us!’, a reggae song gone horribly nightmarish, like a bad trip from the wrong type of (medicinal) herb. The hook, line and sinker of a line in the song has to be “I don’t fucking love you, I just love fucking you, it’s a fucking shame”, delivered pretty straight (although there could be a wiley, tongue-in-cheek delivery somewhere, b side maybe?). The song appeals to the basest of instincts.
Closing this Trilogy is a fantastic cover of Patsy Cline‘s ‘Three cigarettes in an ashtray’. The delivery is beautiful and the ending, oh, the ending. A great twist and it’s better to find it yourself. M. Night Shyamalan would be proud. Heck, I even feel like I should be involved in a torrid love triangle after listening to it.
‘X wants the meat’ (the song) is arguably the most pop, digestible moment in the whole bag, and even it does indulge into some musical interludes that repeat, lingering on the air like the incense of an old, abandoned church.
Just a quick remark about the artwork: it feels like a nod to John Carpenter’s “They live!”. If so, I’ll buy them a pint when/if I meet them.
As an album, “X wants the meat” is a deli platter of genres, each one in their own isolated canapé, waiting for the unwary punter to fall prey. Raw, with something that I can only describe as nightmarish indie jamming (in a good way). Smokers die younger don’t have an attitude (an understatement), they just went for the morning star and went skullcrushing for a while.
About the author: Either he’s had great luck with bands as of late or that bump in the head is taking its toll. We incline for the former and make fun of the latter.
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