As its name suggests, Emerald Lemonade—the forthcoming cassette EP from Ohio rock band Smug Brothers—is a quencher to treasure. Sparkling with sharp melodies, but bubbling with blurred lyrics and vocals, each of these seven short songs satisfies in surprising ways. Pick it up December 9 via Gas Daddy Go!
Opener “Pablo Icarus” goes down like a Beatle-pop palate cleanser, helping the listener to better savor the stranger stuff: the indie inferno of “Later is Quad,” the runaway rig of “Aardvark Fusion,” and the pure puzzlement of “Winter Swimmers,” a tune more migraine than music. But such rough edges have always been part of the Smug Brothers’ rickety charm, a contrast to Don Thrasher’s super-crisp drumming and Kyle Melton’s laser-focused songwriting—now emboldened by Kyle Sowash’s robust-yet-restrained bass lines, which expertly buoy Emerald Lemonade’s top two tracks, “Midnight Tomorrow” and “Phantom Oceans.” The former sounds like something Paul McCartney would compose in his kitchen while happily hungover from an awards ceremony; the latter unexpectedly conjures memories of My Bloody Valentine and Ride, of a time when Irish and English bands used noise and opacity to soothe and clarify.
If Emerald Lemonade is any indicator, the Smug Brothers’ upcoming 2023 album, In The Book of Bad Ideas, will be a tome of gems. Stream the EP below.
Dec. 16 Dayton, Ohio, Yellow Cab Tavern w/Houseghost and Scary Hotel
Dec. 17 Columbus, Ohio, Cafe Bourbon Street w/Brian Damage, Language, and Corey Landis & The Finer Things
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Photo by Emily Farmer