. : : May 2nd, 2008 : : .
A lot of the attention Smoosh gets is based on their so-called “gimmick.” After all, it’s hard to get over the initial reaction of seeing two barely-teenaged girls (and a third, even younger one) take the stage and step behind instruments that are almost comically over-sized in comparison. You can almost hear an entire crowd put down their drinks and collectively turn to one another and whisper, “Awww, isn’t that cute?!”. You just know that many of them pick up their drinks and resume their conversations obliviously just as quickly. That’s a shame, because those who are able to look beyond the misleading image are treated to a surprisingly good set of indie/piano pop. And no, I don’t mean Good For Their Age, or Good For A Bunch Of Girls. I mean Good. Period. Full stop. End of phrasing.
I was introduced to Smoosh via the lead single of their second proper album, Free To Stay. The drumming on the album’s lead track and single is nothing short of spectacular. The dynamic stutter start-stop of the main synth riff is catchy as hell. And the structure and lyrics hint at a maturity well beyond their years. When Smoosh came to town in support of The Pipettes at Lee’s Palace, they put on a fantastic, crowd-winning set that had friends of mine gushing over them for days afterward. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I didn’t bring my gear to that show.
However, when Smoosh returned to Toronto just shy of a year later, I made sure to have my gear prepped. Imagine my excitement when, on top of a supporting slot for local indie band success story Tokyo Police Club, Smoosh announced another special in-store performance at one of Toronto’s most important and revered record stores, Sonic Boom.
I was a bit disappointed in the sparse turnout to the special in-store gig, but in a way it made the experience even more intimate. Watching the band perform in such a small, wood-paneled environment felt like a voyeuristic visit into the band’s basement rehearsal space. Performing for almost a full half-hour, the band performed energetically and enthusiastically in spite of the few on-lookers spotted throughout the room, and treated the crowd to a special cover of Bloc Party‘s This Modern Love, three new as-of-time-of-writing unreleased songs, and a handful of established favourites.
For the most part, this recording turned out fantastic, and is one of my all-time favourites of my tapes. There is the occasional drop out and digi-noise standard with my sad minidisc recorder, but fear not — I’m looking into picking up an SD recorder this weekend! I usually am able to get through a show with little or inaudible applause of my recordings, but with the unfortunately low turn out, I needed to add a little bit of extra enthusiasm to encourage the band. So, pardon a bit louder-than-normal clapping and enjoy this great Smoosh performance.
01. Massive Cure
02. Great Skies
03. This Modern Love [Bloc Party]
04. In The Fall
06. Find A Way
07. Organ Talk
Thanks to Smoosh, Barsuk Records and the incomparable Sonic Boom Records. Please download and distribute this recording freely, and support the bands by buying their albums, merchandise and concert tickets when they perform in your town.