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CD of The Week

Week of 2/22/21

    Smith & Burrows - Only Smith & Burrows is Good Enough (PIAS)

    Tom Smith (Editors) and Andy Burrows (RazorlightWe Are Scientists) have been mates for years. In fact, the duo released a Christmas-themed album in 2011 entitled Funny Looking Angels. Over the years they’ve continued to collaborate and have finally released the long-awaited follow-up that the world never knew it needed. Recorded over a 6-week session in Tennessee during the summer of 2019, Only Smith & Burrows Is Good Enough delights with 10 indie-pop gems full of inspirational and uplifting lyrics and melodies. The production is crisp, and the instrumentation is more organic than expected, especially from the brooding Smith known for his dark post-punk with Editors. Full of acoustic guitars, piano, handclaps, finger snaps, and some subtle horns and light synths thrown in for good measure, Smith & Burrows, with the help of producer Jacquire King, present just the right amount of fun, charm, and sincerity. 

    The title is derived from a 40’s-era Gibson guitar ad-slogan and is also a nod to some of the cheekiness on display here. “Buccaneer Rum Jum” starts like a Jimmy Buffet-style novelty song but eventually stands out as one of the most fun tunes on the record and will surely end up on my next summer jams playlist. They channel ‘80s synth-pop on the upbeat “Bottle Tops,” and “Spaghetti” uses silly phrases like “dither dither dither” and “fee-fi-fo" alongside Smith’s razor-sharp wit: “I don’t watch the news, I like misery with coffee and nights with the blues.” On the opening track and lead single from last summer “All The Best Moves,” pop culture is referenced when Smith croons “I’m happy here even in the grip of my shakes, Even Dr. Jones is afraid of the snakes.” 

    Occasionally these fellas take themselves a little more seriously. “Old TV Shows” is nostalgic and a bit mournful, but catchy as hell. On the soulful confessional “Aimee Move On,” Smith reckons with his foolishness. Relationship struggles are pondered on both “I Want You Back in My Life” and “Too Late.” Album closer “Straight Up Like a Mohican” showcases their vocal talents in perfect harmony (pun intended). With the combo of these two imaginative and dynamic songwriters, OS&BIGE leaves us with plenty of energetic sing-alongs that will cause earworms for days. It’s pure joy and the perfect escape from the drudgery of our contemporary ills. 

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    Review by Dave Lindquist

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