The emotional register is pushed near the limit right from the first note of More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me, album number four from The Smith Street Band. First track ‘Forrest’ rushes at you like a loud and eager puppy, desperate to bark all of its news to you whilst climbing all over you. Not an unpleasant sensation and one that is pretty much maintained on the album’s remaining 11 songs.
Hook-wise, however, I don’t find myself being drawn into the band’s world. ‘Death To The Lads’, ‘Birthdays’ and the other full-on songs will very clearly be live favourites (indeed the former has already made it into the 2016 Hot 100 of Australia’s Triple J radio station) but ‘Run Into The World’ and similar numbers where pace gives way to emotion feel worthy but not massively interesting to me. They’re not cloying but they leave me indifferent.
The balance of pace versus emotion generally, however, leans towards the first during the course of More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me so the work overall never feels like it’s lagging or going on interminably although such things are a matter of individual perception – ‘It Kills Me To Be Alive’ and ‘Suffer’ both last just over three minutes yet the latter seems to pass in half that time whilst the anthemic structure of the other lends it imagined extra length.
The Smith Street Band have definitely crafted as mature and sincere an album as long-time fans will have been expecting from them, whilst newcomers to their heartfelt sound won’t be in the least disappointed with their new discovery. Personal taste does though play a large part in the difference between appreciation and love in this case as, for me, what they do is clearly good but not something I’ll be deliberately listening to in the coming months.