There were a lot of musicians involved with the making of Smile and a Bullet by ELSIE BINX. Erin Accomando (vocals), Phil Steuer (guitar), Jason Quartuccio (bass), Dylan McCarty (drums), AaronGTV (guitar), Josh Ford (guitar solo) and Julie Haven (piano) all had their part.
The music clearly belongs under the label of pop/rock. As I was listening to the album I was trying to figure what demographic would appreciate the music. It certainly doesn’t sound like a good fit for the underground and doesn’t feel too apt to work in contemporary mainstream music either. Perhaps that is good thing.
Most of the songs on this album are upbeat, well written and also follow a very predictable structure for better or worse. There is a vibe that the band was giving off that is hard to pinpoint but it almost felt like the songs were a bit too prepackaged in a commercial late ‘80s or early ‘90s type of way which is all in the production. It’s a sound that I think some will appreciate more than others so I encourage you to take a listen.
The band kicks things off with “Best Of Me” which is a single worthy song. Accomando shows off her chops as a singer as the music revolves around a clean bass, distorted power chords and a steady drum beat. The lyrics are extremely straightforward with no poetic ambiguity. She sings, “You get the break up, it’s all in your past / You know what people say about you – nice guys finish last / but in my head, I know I should be with you instead / I’ve never doubted just how you feel / But every time that we’re together it just gets more real / And I can start to see that you can have the best of me.”
“Get Up” had the potential to be a bit too hokey but the song redeems itself with a great chorus while “Gemini” is another solid tune that revolves around some of the turbulence you can experience after the initial burst of new romantic relationship. As the album progresses “Seymore” and “Maybe” were the other highlights. That being said all the songs feel torn from the same cloth.
Smile and a Bullet has a distinct vibe and production style, which may have had a broader appeal to a couple of decades. That being said these things are cyclical and there are surely people out there who will appreciate what they are doing.
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