Reviews

Smut
How The Light Felt

(Bayonet)

8/10

A nostalgic sound floods your ears with the first chords of Smut’s second album How the Light Felt. The Chicago band combine the cathartic vocals of Tay Roebuck with the 1990s-inspired instrumentation of her bandmates, but they don’t use rose-tinted glasses to create some long-gone dreamscape. Instead, they lace their music more subtly with soothing reminders of the past, using memory to ignite the record with energy. 

‘Supersolar’ could fit right in with a Sabrina the Teenage Witch montage, while the title track weaves cosmic synths into their sound. Gentle and alluring, the acoustic guitar keeps the song grounded as the Boards of Canada-esque melody floats in the background. This tenderness is what prevents the record from simply sounding like a ’90s tribute record. ‘Let Me Hate’ and ‘Person of Interest’ keep the familiar rhythms but use personal stories of teen years and love to stand apart. 

A change of pace towards the end of the record, ‘Morningstar’, switches out the weightless synths for dance melodies, in a way that feels more like day becoming night than one genre jumping sharply to another. Add all this to the record’s warm production and you’ll finish each listen feeling a little less alone than when you began.

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