Smile Empty Soul

Chemicals

Written by: MBC on 08/01/2014 01:41:16

California-based rock trio Smile Empty Soul have been around since 1998 and were a part of the post-grunge/alternative sound that dominated American rock charts in the 2000s. The band released some successful albums during this period, most noticeably their debut album “Smile Empty Soul” in 2003 which spawned a big hit with “Bottom of the Bottle” and was certified gold with over 500.000 units sold. The group’s newest album “Chemicals” was released in October and is their sixth full length in ten years. The band has had a few line-up changes throughout its career, with founding members lead vocalist/guitarist/main song writer Sean Danielsen and bass player Ryan Martin still taking up two thirds of the band on this new record.

On “Chemicals” the band stays true to its roots and does not stray much from the formula of previous releases. Sean Danielsen has a raspy post-grunge voice similar to Wes Scantlin from Puddle of Mudd. Danielsen is a decent singer, but there is nothing original or particularly noteworthy about his vocal delivery. The same can be said about the music in general. “Chemicals” consists of ten songs typically of 3½-4 minutes of hard riffs, power chords, soft verses and explosive choruses or vice versa. The songs are well written but bland and lack the strong melodies of other contemporary hard rock acts, such as Art of Dying, to truly catch the listener’s attention.

With this kind of rock music, it is important that the emotion shines through and according to Danielsen their fans “have always said they can relate to the band’s ‘heartfelt’ lyrics, as well as their raw and emotional sound.”. Listening to this album, I am having difficulty finding the merits to back up this statement. The sound is neither raw nor particularly emotional, and the lyrics are standard portrayals of a tortured soul. “False Alarm” has a simple and catchy chorus that goes: “Glass shard sticking out of my heart, now the summer has subsided for the rain, last time take a look in these eyes, spend eternity escaping from the pain”. On “New Low” Danielsen sings: “I feel like dying tonight, stay away from me, I’ve never done nothing right, keep your sympathies”. These lyrics are not bad, but they are generic and do nothing to set apart Smile Empty Soul from other American rock bands.

Overall “Chemicals” is a decent effort from Smile Empty Soul. People who have appreciated the band’s catalogue so far should check out the album, fans of the softer side of the post-grunge genre in general might find some qualities here as well.

Download: False Alarm, Chemicals, Swim
For the fans of: Puddle of Mudd, Crossfade, Silverchair
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 01.10.2013
Two Disciples Entertainment

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