Smile Empty Soul


Written by: DR on 28/01/2010 17:55:45

The latest of the 2009 albums left to review is post-grunge outfit Smile Empty Soul who first burst onto the scene back in 2003 with their self-titled debut. It even managed to reach a decent 94 in the charts. The next two releases, "Anxiety" and "Vultures" both failed, with the first not even charting, and the second peaking at chart position 169. Sales aren't everything, but both releases failed to achieve anything other than disappointing reviews on the whole. In July 2008 they finished their fourth album, i.e. this one; they signed to F.O.F./EMI Records later that year, which resulted in the album being pushed all the way back to August 25th, 2009 - over a year late!

It's be quite hard to imagine Smile Empty Soul on the way up, though, as they do ply their trade in a genre that was thriving at the turn of the last decade, but not so much anymore. For that reason, this album is one for the fans of the like already, as "Consciousness" doesn't possess the necessary ingredients to be able to attract fans from outside the genre. That's not to say this is a bad album however, because it isn't. It's just a little uninspiring, too 'style over substance', as it were. By that I mean that on the surface it's good listening: Sean Danielson's vocals are solid, angry and crammed with edge, whilst the guitars are packing just the right amount of riffage. But for those, like me, who prefer to look a bit further - specifically into the lyrics and creativity on display - won't be satisfied when most songs aren't all that different, and the lyrics have about as much depth as a puddle: "Trust built on a mound of shit / All signs pointing to your sins / The smiles only make it worse for you, you'll see."

There seems to be very little maturity on "Consciousness", they could have released this album five or so years ago, and it would fit right in. This is largely down to the band's apparent inability to progress. This isn't a terrible album to the point of not being able to bear listening to it, but it is pretty boring to listen to. Yesss the songs are fairly catchy, and it's technically sound, but that isn't enough to excuse these out of date, pseudo-angsty, out of date radio hits from what they really are. First single "Don't Ever Leave" and instrumental "Atoll" are mildly ambitious, and will warrant a few plays before you get completely bored of them. If you still wear your jeans a few sizes too big, hang around your local skate park because 'you don't conform' or 'nobody gets you', you will most likely enjoy this.


Download: Don't Ever Leave, Atoll, Faker
For the fans of: Puddle of Mudd, Saliva, 12 Stones
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 25.08.2009
F.O.F./EMI Records

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