SMOOSH, "Free To Stay"
The vast proliferation of indie pop acts makes the music seem like child's play, so the arrival of Seattle's Smoosh -- an honest-to-goodness barely-teen indie-pop sister act -- was perhaps inevitable.The vast proliferation of indie pop acts makes the music seem like child's play, so the arrival of Seattle's Smoosh -- an honest-to-goodness barely-teen indie-pop sister act -- was perhaps inevitable. In fact, since countless older bands who should know better make so much effort trying to recapture the charming innocence and whimsy of youth, the prospect of a band whose songs exudes those qualities naturally is more than welcome.
What helps Smoosh rise above novelty, however, is the quality of young Asya's songs. While one suspects the duo received some help with the arrangements on this sophomore effort, songs such as the title track, "Rock Song" and the peppy "Gold" come off as more than just an adolescent version of quirky keyboard/drum duos such as Quasi.
Rather, they're simple, breezy, muss-free pop songs, barely burdened by the weight of ambition or hampered by fussy studio perfectionism. Asya's not much of a singer or lyricist, but she's a deceptively inventive piano player, and while Chloe's drums are simple, they're hardly amateurish. Most importantly, every aspect of Smoosh projects a tantalizing glimmer of even better things to come. The talent's there, and so are the songs. All that remains to be seen is how the steady accumulation of real life experience seeps its way into Smoosh's music, and by then the indie world may be theirs for the taking. -- Joshua Klein