The Never Always EP is three tracks of gritty, bruised post- AND proto-punk sounding rock that I previously thought only existed in the late 80s. I'm wrong but I'm glad I was this time because this is the bee's knees. Smooth Roasted is two dudes from Westfield, NJ, who, after drifting apart for several years, were reunited through Facebook magic. In the process they discovered they each cultivated a love of good rock music and decided to make an EP. Nuno Silva is on vocals and guitar; Alex Rothfelder is on bass and drums.
The Never Always EP possesses an incredibly strong bass sound, almost to the point where it sounds like a tree trunk is about to snap off and that characterizes my favorite brand of post-punk music. That lead guitar ain't nothing to scuff with either, very nice strumming and full-on chord changes reminiscent of Melvins’ riffs if they were several times shorter. The drumming is solid but I'm never good at describing drumming. Besides, the bass-guitar interplay (the guitar was recorded with a different amp in each song) is the most audible aspect of the music.
Anyway, the songs are about things everyone can relate to: social media addiction ("The Facebook Song"), lack of communication ("Never Always") and general loneliness ("Where Have You Been?"). Vocalist SIlva has that complimentative (not a word? it is now) talk-drawl voice that's somewhere in between Matt Whitehurst (Psychedelic Horseshit) and Brendan Suppression (Eddy Current Suppression Ring). It's great to hear the riffs match his cracked voice and it lends some punch to the lyrics that could fall immediately into the too-self-referential category.
Just above ten minutes, The Never Always EP is a far stronger introduction to the band than most full-lengths. Silva and Rothfelder pull no punches and let the music become unhinged without getting their ideas all over the place. It's an awesome listen that'll improve your day in less time it takes to hit up the bar after work (cheaper, too).
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