The Smart Folk is a band from Australia that formed in 2013. They recently released their long awaited debut entitled A Sunny Afternoon At The Zoo. It didn’t take me long to recognize the ’60s inspired pop/rock influence. You can hear a wide range of bands like The Byrds, The Beatles and even a smidgen of Pink Floyd.
The band opens with “Do You Know What The Smart Folk Know?” It’s an absurdly catchy song that has no fat on it. It’s swift, clean and has a couple of well implemented hand claps and vocal harmonies. The song goes by in a flash with a two-and-a-half-minute run time.
“Hollow Man” is a little more beefy and just about as catchy. The chorus is infectious even if it’s more than familiar sounding to previous songs of yesteryear. Up next is “I Can Go Places” which has vocal harmonies that are undeniably in the spirit of the ’60s. There is the perfect amount of crunch on the guitar and I thought the bass line was especially inventive.
“One Two Three Step Four” has almost Beach Boys-esque vocal harmonies while “Quiet Fridays In” is a delightful song about a very basic concept that I whole heartedly can get behind. “Saturday Morning Slow Starts” is a thematic extension. A chill Friday night leads to a lazy Saturday? Sounds good to me but it's been awhile since I've had that luxury.
A Sunny Afternoon At The Zoo is far from the most inventive album that I’ve heard in 2017 but the songwriting and delivery is top notch. The songs feel like a blast from the past and manage not to sound contrived.
The EP is cohesive and was such an easy listen from beginning to end. My one quibble was the production could have used a little tweaking. It wasn’t lo-fi and did not sound like a demo but felt like a little magic was missing.
Overall, this is a great EP. The band knows how to write a tune that tips a hat to pop/rock bands from the ’60s.
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