While Melbourne’s The Smith Street Band effortlessly craft images of a suburban Australia rarely experienced by those of us on the other side of the world, it’s not a sense of pseudo-exoticism that affords the band their resonance. Rather, it’s the familiarity of the scenes that play out against such a backdrop, and the emotional response to said scenes, that offer the appeal.
The band’s latest record More Scared of You Than You Are of Me is their boldest release to date. Exploding from the outset in the form of "Forrest" there’s a blatant sense of urgency that continues across the course of the record, palpable in the "Death to the Lads" boozy refrain, tangible in the sheer passion of "25".
Of course, it’s the narratives that make a Smith Street Band record. And while each track provides its own distinct vignette, for the first time More Scared of You Than You Are of Me offers an overarching narrative throughout. Its 12 tracks charting a tumultuous relationship, the emotional peaks and troughs that come with such a narrative feel more real, more refined than on previous releases.
The likes of "Kills Me to Have to Be Alive", with its subtle swells of brass and finger picked guitar, or the sprawling "Young Once" really brings the tenderness exhibited in earlier tracks like "The Arrogance of the Drunk Pedestrian" to the fore. It’s this balance of sentiment and ballsy optimism that make More Scared of You Than You Are of Me the record it is.
Blending the brash with the heartfelt is something The Smith Street Band have always succeeded in doing. Here they take that to the next level, deftly executing a record that’s as bombastic as we’ve come to expect from the band, and isn’t afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve.