Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Smoke It 'n' Die - By Morning

Hear The Track Here

Let me start this with a brief note to Howard Billington: post the lyrics!! See, one of the great joys of discovering this musician/singer/whatEVAH last year has been his very knowledgeable songwriting style - particularly lyrically. The reason, of course, I am yapping on about Howard Billington is because he makes up one fourth of Smoke It 'n' Die and is obviously the main songwriter, at least as far as I have heard. You may remember that I reviewed the Smoke's Wondering If (May 2010) or if not you have serious memory problems. I loved it of course, but I would because - above all else - Howard Billington is a true English songwriter to his very fingertips.

Moreover, the music that Smoke It 'n' Die make is a curious amalgam of pop, punk, rock and all points south all laid over an almost chatty pop song and that's why Wondering If get a Must Have from me. Incidentally, most of Howard's solo tracks got that kind of reaction to so that's my bias showing for all to see. By Morning is a worthy addition to the Billington canon and, by extension, the whole of Smoke It 'n' Die. Although the tone and sound is decidedly home produced and a bit lo-fi, what saves it from the dreaded ho hum is the inspired arrangement and performance.

Ultimately where it wins most is in evoking a certain tone that is so ingrained into English music, a kind of whimsical charm that English musicians do so well, tie-ing it's butt to a cracker song and letting it go wherever. Nonetheless, I don't think it's up there with the best of his tracks but by God what a song he has here, a real arena filler if I ever heard one. It might take more than a few plays to break through this tracks rough crust but once it's worn in a groove it's going to be hard to ever loosen it and that is the key to Howard's songwriting. Having a competent band around him only amplifies just how good these songs really are. So, all sound prejudices aside, this is an awesome song, in and of itself.

MUST HAVE could-be Stadium pop.

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