By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
I'd like to think that, somewhere, the members of Smiling at the Ceiling are sitting in the sunlight, talking about days gone by. Because their latest self-titled EP is tailor-made for such activity—not only because it harkens back to 1970s-era yacht rock with its silky smooth lead guitar licks, but because its lyrics embody a retrospective spirit as well. This happens most notably on the album's most well-rounded track, "Forgotten," where Colin Currans-Sheehan sings "I don't want to be forgotten by my friends / Every day it seems we're getting near the end."
Throughout the EP's six tracks Currans-Sheehan does his best Ben Folds, never quite sounding completely comfortable when his voice isn't bolstered by the band's rich vocal harmonies, which add both a brightness and warmth to the disc. To be fair, though, the EP was recorded prior to co-lead singer Ally Hoffman's being brought in to ameliorate the vocal shortcomings and before Ryan Hagler of the Grammy-nominated One O'Clock Lab Band began filling the bass guitar duties.
But if minor vocal insecurities are the album's biggest flaw, one would never know it while listening to "Forgotten," where the band goes full-on Beach Boys at their Pet Sounds-era best, reveling in deep, rich harmonies that remarkably never manage to come off as excessive. —Cory Graves
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