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Rick Melling

The Smith Street Band
I Scare Myself Sometimes

Rick Melling, Features Writer

Melbourne (AUS) hard crooners The Smith Street Band have released a new single entitled "I Scare Myself Sometimes", in collaboration with Lucy Wilson of The Sugarcanes.

It takes the form of a duet between Wilson and Smith Street frontman Will Wagner, and is altogether a nice little track.

There's a video for it, too, which is an overly saccharine animated job by Celeste Potter, and reminded me of one of Jeremy Messersmith's video pieces. It's doubtful you'll watch it all the way to the end and much less worth the time, unless you're feeling fragile or upset, in which case you might have a little cry.

The track itself is an interesting deviation from the standard stylistic approach of Smith Street - where you expect Wagner's passionate drawl over crashing guitar riffs (as with much of recent release "Throw Me in the River"), we get a softer alternation using Wilson's cleaner vocal, which provides a point of focus on a tune which feels very much like a narrative of two sides rather than a sardonic soliloquy.

Not that this vein of bitterness and personal effacement has in any way been a bad thing for the group - indeed, it's partly those darkly attractive lyrical qualities which has made them a strong outfit over the years and earned them a critically loyal fan-base.

And in any case, the tone is still fairly deprecatory at times, there's just a little more optimism in it overall, delivered through the company of the duet.

Starting with simple kinetics and interchanging vocals, the track grows and blossoms into a heartfelt catharsis towards its end. It isn't overtly painful, nor is it by any means dull, but I'd say it sounds rather more middle-of-the-road than other material.

Some variation, it should be said, is nonetheless a useful thing to apply within song-writing, and "I Scare Myself Sometimes" is a breath of air which could work soundly to break up the poignant ragings Smith Street so heartily continue to provide.

This release coincides with the launch of their homecoming Australian tour with compadres The Front Bottoms, and I wish them all the best from the UK.