The Smiling Strangers â€“ All The Way / 2007 QCGS / 12 Tracks / http://www.thesmilingstrangers.com /
While it wasnâ€™t a major release by any stretch of the imagination, I believe my first experience with The Smiling Strangers came not when I received the copy of â€œAll The Wayâ€, but was when I picked up a copy of â€œThe Big Indie Comeback, Volume 3â€. Their track â€œSmile On Your Faceâ€ was present here, and made it a necessity that we receive a copy of â€œAll The Wayâ€. However, the band has seemingly tightened up their sound further since â€œSmile On Your Faceâ€, and is miles away in terms of quality from their work on their previous albums, â€œDangerous Timesâ€ and â€œSpaces Graces and Smiling Facesâ€.
The band has taken their time together and continually reinvigorated and refined their sound in the years since they have formed as a band. â€œThe One I Hold Tonightâ€ is one of many solid tracks on â€œAll The Wayâ€, and it shows The Smiling Stranger as an act that can unite both older and new genres of music. This means that a Maroon 5 / Ben Folds approach is linked inexorably with a Chicago and Journey style of rock music, to make an unique style for The Smiling Strangers that will net them a large fan base. The tenderness held in the vocals and piano lines during â€œThe One I Hold Tonightâ€ shows that they hit on all affective levels â€“ they impress with their intensity, their intricate arrangements, and their emotional content.
â€œThe Hard Yardsâ€ is another stand up track. The vocals provide something to hold on to, while the guitars provide the foundation for the vocals to work off of. The inclusion of a backing chorus at points during this track provides the cherry on top of The Smiling Strangersâ€™ work during this part of the track â€œThe Hard Yardsâ€ has an infectious hook, and will ensure that individuals will be signing along for weeks and months after the disc slows to a stop. â€œPassionate Angelsâ€ provides individuals with a sense of exactly how powerful the vocals are during this disc. There is little more to bolster the vocals during this track than the vocals themselves; while there are light hints of the band during the track, the duty to create the harmony during the track is really left up to the vocals here. The vocals stand up to this challenge, and The Smiling Strangers show that every part of their band is strong. Without a missing link, the act is able to rocket forward to the end of the disc.
Top Tracks: Passionate Angels, The Hard Yards