Wil Wagner has travelled the world, fallen in and out of love and continued his ongoing quest to find a greater method in the madness that his life has seemingly become. Of course, these were contributing factors to his band’s previous LPs, too, but here they’ve been boosted by some of the most mature and progressive songwriting the group has ever collectively attempted.
Behind the boards is Jeff Rosenstock, who many will know from his time under the moniker, Bomb The Music Industry!. Here, he pushes out The Smith Street Band’s workman-like take on melodic punk with an expansive layering of keyboards, horns and strings. Rather than feel like superfluous space-fillers, in many cases they end up as the definitive aspects of the song in question. The title track is a majestic slow-burner, while Calgary Girls could practically be a Paul Kelly song – and there is no known universe in which that’s not a compliment.
‘I have plans for you and me’, sings Wagner excitedly during Something I Can Hold In My Hands, before adding: ‘Our lives are gonna change’. Throw Me In The River sounds like the first day of the rest of The Smith Street Band’s life.
DAVID JAMES YOUNG