Despite only having two members, the folk-inspired indie pop duo Smile Smile â€“ comprised of Ryan Hamilton and Jencey Hirunrusme â€“ manage to make some fairly expansive songs on their debut. Blue Roses, originally released in 2006 and re-released this summer, is remarkable in its simplicity.
Piano, guitar and male /female vocals are pretty much it, but Hamilton and Hirunrusmeâ€™s voices more than make up for the missing rhythm section. With just 10 songs, on the maddeningly short Blue Roses, the band evokes everyone from the obvious (Straylight Run and Mates of State) to the not-so obvious (Indigo Girls and Michael Penn). Tracks like the appropriately heartbreaking â€œSad Songsâ€ and the more upbeat â€œStranger Across the Streetâ€ show a duo more than ready to be heard by more than their hometown audiences. Currently on tour with Metric, Smile Smile will hopefully find that national audience they deserve.
Top tracks: â€œStranger Across the Streetâ€ and â€œSad Songsâ€
Rating: 7.9 out of 10
Smile Smile â€“ Blue Roses / CD / 2009 / 11 tracks Kirtland Records / www.smilesmilemusic.com/