Skyler Gibson (vocals/rhythm guitar), Wesley Jones (lead guitar/vocals), Austin Howatt (bass) and Mason Andersen (drums) are The Real Smoothies. The band already had an impressive resume before their release of their debut The Voyage. After building up a following they were recognized as the Best Original Band of the northwest coast at the 105.9 THE WAVE Kenware Chevrolet Music Awards in 2015. Some of that originality certainly shows on The Voyage which is essentially an indie rock album that explores some math rock, alternative and even a tinge of post-rock.
The EP opens with the self-titled track, which runs about eight-and-a-half-minutes long. As the band starts to play you make some comparisons to a band like Explosions in the Sky. Within the first minute the band is already working on a massive build up that gets to explode, deflate and then expand. There are a good amount of transitions all of which are very dynamic. It isn’t till about three minutes that vocals show up. The vocal production and delivery fits with the music. I thought the vocal harmonies helped make an epic song sound even more epic. All in all this song is mostly about the instruments, which work out just fine.
“Alcohol & Nicotine” is more grounded than the opener and also contains some blues style guitar playing. The vocals are more traditional in this song as the lyrics revolve around apathetic emotions and a relationship that seems to be stuck in quicksand. If you have been around long enough you most likely be able to empathize with the lyrics. The vocalist sings, “I don't ever want to feel that way again. / Now I'm waking up alone today, / but everything just feels the same, / I don't ever want to feel that way again.”
“Blue Bird” shows another side to the band. They pull out a nice array of tricks. Kudos to the drummer here for his slick jazz beat during the verse. The vocals are coated in reverb, which give the song an ethereal dreamy feel. On top of that the lyrics feed into that dreamy atmosphere. The vocalist sings, “Your tragedies follow me around. / Melodies that make no sounds. / You sing tunes from far above, / but never songs of love.” I couldn't help but think of Smashing Pumpkins when I heard the guitar riff on “Foundation.” The song contains some impressive peaks and again is very dynamic.
Hopefully this is just the start for The Real Smoothies. The songs display some solid songwriting and out of the box thinking. A little bump in production wouldn't hurt next time around but all things considered this is a very promising band
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