Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Music Review //
Constant Smiles
"Kenneth Anger"
(Sacred Bones Records)


https://constantsmiles.bandcamp.com/album/kenneth-anger


While people might think of Constant Smiles as this radio-friendly band that came out of that early 2000's college indie rock scene, you know something along the lines of Death Cab For Cutie or Interpol, I think of them as something a little bit more closer to home.  Though all of that was growing under a more mainstream eye, there were artists coming through with music that felt loud but wasn't in your face and that's how I feel about Constant Smiles.

Artists such as Time Spent Driving and Penfold really come out in these songs for me.  The drums can come through in a rather hypnotic way and as it should be intended to do, the first song, "Finding Ways", should put you into this trance that just completely draws you in.  I like to think of the idea of walking by a club in summertime with their door open, you hear this sound coming from within and just have to go in and see what it's all about.

With this much melody, it's impossible to not also think of this as shoegaze or something from that genre.   Even though my mind first starts with these early 2000's indie rock type of music, it carries over into the shoegaze revival I found with artists such as The Consolation Project.  In fact, I do believe that how much this album reminds me of The Consolation Project at times is why I love Constant Smiles so much.  

Above all else, Constant Smiles has a sound which just generates so much melody that it can feel as if it is always acoustic.  But then you have a song like "I Hope You Are Well", which has more of those "Stranger Things" tones and then brings out drum machines like you'd hear on the radio from an artist such as Neon Trees.   Even with all of this range though, Constant Smiles seems to have mastered the melody and created a sound which is just so pure.   


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