Skipping along the line between folk-pop and jazz, this awkward ensemble’s debut is anything but clumsy. Typical of many before it, Smocks presents all delicate and doe-eyed, dreamily wandering through lilting melodies, but don’t expect to be lulled to sleep this time. This album gives you a precocious wink over its shoulder every now and then just to make sure you’re following. Pear takes the lead with her sweet vocals, capturing just enough light and shade to intrigue your ears. Scattered percussion, three guitarists and all manner of orchestral bits and pieces (flutes, oboes, god knows what else) create a nuanced sound but manage to avoid becoming a tangle of words and notes. There is a genuine story in each track and the album would slip easily into the playlist of any Miller-Heidke or Bowditch fan. They say it well themselves in Stand Us Guard, admitting, “No, I don’t know you but I would like to.” If you don’t know this talented bunch it may well be time to get better acquainted.
(Originally published below)