Smith Street Band – Sunshine and Technology

Naming yourself after a notorious Melbourne junkie haven (and gentrification battleground) invites a certain pressure. Sadly, The Smith Street Band, try as they might, can’t quite live up to it.

On Sunshine and Technology the band seems to be stuck in “punk anthem” mode. Frontman Wil Wagner’s poetic the-world’s-fucked-let’s-get-wasted routine is fine – and frequently, it’s excellent – but there’s almost no relief to break up the heart-on-sleeve onslaught. Though they can play with serious energy and dynamic range, the band exacerbates the problem; at no point does anyone step forward to provide counterpoint, a hook, anything at all to mix things up. Still, when it all comes together, as on Tom Busby, The Smith Street Band kick proper arse. Problem is, 10 full-bore anthems without respite is just too much.