Since their formation in 2010, The Smith Street Band have been one of the greatest hidden gems that Australia possesses. However now that the dust has settled on their latest release ‘Throw Me In The River’ it’s time to reflect on why the Melbourne outfit are one of the greatest hopes for the Australian rock scene. That said, its not like the scene is in any need of saving, far from it in fact – with likes of; Violent Soho, Northlane, The Bennies and DZ Deathrays its clear that we are fortunate enough to have one of the richest scenes in the world.
Yet with that in mind, this surge of Australian rock has seen the industry become what flooded, drowning out acts like The Smith Street Band, putting them in a form of purgatory – stuck between small venues, and headline national tours.
For the past four odd years, The Smith Street Band have released three LPs and two EPs, all as incredible as ever, but it’s how they difference themselves from the remainder of the competition which makes them so special.
Firstly, the relatability of Wil Wagner’s lyrics creates a more personal association with every single one of their musical creations. From relationship issues, the almost constant presence of alcohol in daily lives to the self-aggrandisation of our “own bullshit”, Wagner has an unnerving ability to cover issues and concepts rarely addressed. It seems weird, the concept of relating to a specific track through lyrics is most commonly associated with 16 year olds and Taylor Swift songs, but Wagner creates powerful, moving lyrics, which revolve about somewhat mundane activates, which in hindsight makes them so much more accessible. What’s more is that these lyrics are projected through one of the thickest Australian accents one could possess, which many may debate is a bad thing, but it gives them such a unique identity.
Having engrossed myself within their discography, its strikingly clear that Wagner has made a few mistakes in his life, but that merely adds to their charm. Instead of meaningless bullshit, which fitted the instrumental and nothing more. It’s a refreshing sight to see a hand in hand creation of both music and lyrical content.
What’s more is that it their December tour hadn’t even finished before they announced another one, proving their commitment to the scene. There is no time off for these Melbournites, they’re touring, recording or writing. This release of ‘Throw Me In The River’ solidified their influence on the industry, however it’s clear that the only way is up for the group. Yes the market may be flooded with talent, however its only a matter of time before these guys truly blow up. The combination of absolutely astounding rock, with their envious commitment to their music, it’s clear that The Smith Street Band are on the fast track to success, and it’ll only be a matter of time until they reach such heights.
At an age when the music we listen to relies on hooks, drops and repetitive choruses to reflect content, The Smith Street Band transcend this stigma. It is strikingly evident that for each song on each album, an equal amount of time was spent on each, and that in no way were any of these songs rushed, but meticulously crafted. We may not see them headline The Enmore Theatre, that’s just business, but anything the band touch, will always be infinitely better than anyone who does headline there. It’s been a slow four odd years for them, however the next four are set to be even more exciting – it’s always somewhat depressing to loose an underground band, however for The Smith Street Band, they truly deserve it.