ARTIST: SMIDLEY

TITLE: SMIDLEY

LABEL: TRIPLE CROWN RECORDS

RATING: 7.5/10

Foxing vocalist, Conor Murphy has gone solo! In an attempt to push his boundaries as an artist, he’s separated himself from his melancholy previous outings, immersed into a more awkward entity of Weezer and something you could easily imagine on an episode of How I Met Your Mother. ‘Hell’ is the first track we hear, enticing us into a quicker tempo, more upbeat envisioning of Murphy. Nevertheless, the quality of the song is not tarnished due to this, if anything it glistens in this genre, seamlessly feeling like a future cult classic already. Other examples of this is tracks like ‘Power Word Kill’, where it’s clear Murphy chose his accompanying band wisely as they remain tight throughout the record.

Tracks like ‘Dead Retrievers’ continue the trend of being a strong release; nothing to complicated, it’s composed simple and works – to its max potential. Creating the possibility of it being on your next car road trip soundtrack. The album is designed to blend track to track, almost giving the feeling that it’s not a bunch of songs; it’s a piece of art. And the best way to appreciate it is probably in one sitting, as a personal analysis of Murphy on Murphy; not taking himself as seriously as he had in previous ventures. The signs are shown in titles such as ‘No One Likes You’ and works in his favour.

As much as the simplicity of the tracks works in it’s the album’s favour, it wouldn’t be a complete without Conor’s unique vocal sound; there’s nothing else quite like it in the genre. His suffering vocal melody completes the body of work, and compliments his voice as much as any of the previous Foxing material, in some cases even more. The bounce between sombre acoustic material and somewhat feel good indie rock also gives variation to what Murphy can do musically and how it suits his voice.

To round it up, Smidley is a solo outing worth listening to, acting like a premature indie-rock version of Bon Iver; throwing out some solid summertime anthems and whilst becoming a part of Murphy’s artsy persona. Jumping between acoustic tracks and light indie-rock, the album excels Murphy into Manchester Orchestra-like territory, making the material more approachable to a larger audience.

WORDS: MATT LUNN

You can listen to the album here:

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