A Smile From The Trenches

Leave The Gambling For Vegas

Written by: TL on 24/10/2009 15:25:57

Gather round kids, it's bashing time! For my next trick, I shall need a band that have been punished with an inadequate singer and some seriously bad artistic advice from their label. Good thing Los Angeles super-scenesters A Smile From The Trenches are around with their new album "Leave The Gambling For Vegas", because seldom have I seen a band who more seemingly fitted the above description than them. Dear readers, prepare to descend into a shitfest of considerable proportions:

The reason for the formulation of that introduction is that on said record, the instrument handlers in this band actually seem to have a clue about what they're doing. Pseudo-metallic stuff rocks the verses, while the choruses are backed with easily enjoyable, anthemic chorded riffage, and in general, they're leaning on a positive comparison to the sleazy party-metal of a band like Escape The Fate. The same can be said about the sole surviving member of the band's original lineup, singer Stoney Anderson, as his singing positions itself nicely in between Ronnie Radke (ex-Escape The Fate) and Craig Mabbit (current Escape The Fate). However, it is almost awkwardly clear that Anderson is struggling to imbue his singing with as much attitude as either the flamboyant Mabbit or the deranged Radke, as there are a fair share of moments where he sounds like a whiny, amateurish wannabe.

One more remarkable of such occasions, is in the chorus of track four, the band's cover of Katy Perry's infamous "Hot N Cold" single. I know you're thinking "Oh no they didn't", but alas, yes they did, and yes they added screams, and no they did not succeed in making a song that was already terrible in its original form, any less so in their version. Make no mistake though, that's not the first time on the album that one has been forced to facepalm when confronted with the style of its content. Here's a taste of the lyrics from openers "If Dreams Were Real" and "Start Worryin' Star Warrian'":

"You showed me, what it's like to be in love!

WHOA-OH-OH! WHOA-OH-OH!

My hands are shaking! I get weak from your touch!

WHOA-OH-OH! WHOA-OH-OH!"

"Oh, what have I done to the girl of my dreams!? She meant everything, everything!

Lifeless and wrapped up in our bed sheets! She meant everything, everything!

Love driven murder the thought taste so sweet! She meant everything, everything!

Now my anger turned this to reality! She meant everything, everything"

*Sigh*. Now add trendy screams here and there and a myspace that is drenched in endorsements from scenester clothing companies, and you have a complete and un-ignorable picture of a band that is pretty much designed to raid the wallets of the youngest, least quality-aware rock fans out there, and as you might be able to predict, that does not bode well for the level of class of the remaining half of the record. It's a shame really, because like I said, there's some fair instrumentation and a knack for catchy tunes here, but without an ambition to become more than poster boys for pre-teens, this band will never, not even in the best of its moments (see the Used-esque "Fortune, Glamour, Fame") become more than a shallow, embarrassing imitation of more original and believable peers, like The Used and Escape The Fate. That's what any sensible music fan will probably take away from this, a record that's not the worst thing since Disney Channel, but still requires that you surgically remove your brain and seal it in a chest before you can consider enjoying it.

Download: "Fortune, Glamour, Fame"
For The Fans Of: Escape The Fate, The Used, Get Scared, The Blackout
Listen: myspace.com/asmilefromthetrenches

Release Date 13.10.2009
DC Hardcore

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