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.
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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