Friday, July 23, 2010

Smoke It 'n' Die - The Last Pop Song

Hear The Track Here

The Last Pop Song is apparently a track from Smoke It n Die's new album Joyful in Defiance and anyone who knows the musician called Howard Billington will nod at the description. So, Howard Billington? Smoke It n Die? Who he? Who dat? Who dey? (Ed: stop!!!). There are very few artists around who always seem to light a fire under me, and our Howie was in there, feet under the table, cup of tea in hand before I could blink. A large part of that appeal is the sheer charm of the man (speaking musically here, not biblically) and the quality and style of his songwriting. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of musicians who have made that kind of impression on me, and each one of them bring something very special to the party.

If music were a drug, Howard Billington would be illegal.

Howard Billington is a gifted and talented songwriter who is slowly but surely forging a very distinctive - and hugely commercial - sound and look. Considering that I only met the guy in January of this year, and that I have only reviewed two Smoke It n Die tracks so far, his imprint is set in my brain. A measure of that is that both SInD tracks I have reviewed go solid Must Haves from me, and in all respects too. In a sea of clones Howard and the rest of Smoke It n Die stand out in much the same way as their bright, colourful image and musical style attract the eyeballs. I like Howard when he's giving it the verbals, whether as a rap or a song, and his lyrics are always the perfect fit.

The 800lb pregnant 'but' in the last sentence I think probably just comes down to personal taste. As I say, I like SInD in every guise (in The Last Pop Song, an energetic, English B-52's) but I don't feel this is anything like as strong a song as Wondering If (May 2010) or By Morning (June 2010) and I sure as hell wore it out finding this out. To me the tracks across a bit light, so to check this out I did what I always do with this artist - track down the corresponding video (they do make good, home made videos) and as good as it was, it only served to point out the weaknesses and looseness of performance. Having said all that, anyone with half an ear will hear it and go 'wooooaaahhhh' in that staggered way that something this raucous could sound so good. I've heard, I believe, just how good this band can be, and this just doesn't hit the same highs but hey, it towers above the competition (Ed: Howard Billington brooks no competition!!)

Highly Recommended punky pop.

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