Like a Diamond in the Rough, You Shine
Reviewed by Libby Webster, Fri., Nov. 25, 2016
Sunny dissonance, avant-garde pop, and playful instrumentation informs Smile's warm sincerity. For an act still in its infancy, the Austin sixpiece demonstrates a remarkably clear idea of its identity on these six debut songs. Opener "All the Things" creeps into fullness, led by the airy harmonies of Annie Long and Mary Bryce, then spins off into dizzying coils of distortion, caveman drums, and mathy guitars. On "Must Be Something Pt. 1," the album's namesake lyric is sung over and over, anchoring the track while the chugging bassline and instrumentation builds onto itself an ornate, intricate soundscape. Instead of getting wound up in the profound musical technicality of the players, Smile's silliness on Like a Diamond in the Rough, You Shine lovingly bleeds into precision. When bandleader Jake Miles sweetly sings, "Misery loves its company, so baby, won't you cum for me?" on lovestruck "I Dunno," and "Proper Design" devolves into discord and giggles, you'll grin.