• smiles and frowns The Smiles and Frowns (CD, £8.95)

    label: akoustik anarkhy

    The Smiles and Frowns album is the debut LP from Phoenix, Arizona’s The Smiles and Frowns, aka Adam Mattson and Christopher James. A sparkling eight-track oddity, it’s a golden ticket into the duo’s strange, hugely imaginative world, comprising what they describe as “haunted train ride songs, children’s theme music songs and psychedelic science fiction songs.” This is an escapist fantasy world in which every song tells a story, a series of fables set to music that occupies a space somewhere between Randy Newman, Elliott Smith and Pink Floyd. Says Adam: “When I close my eyes, I see cartoons playing in the darkness of my mind, so I usually write about those.” Opener Sam is the tale of a musician’s rise and fall, Huevos Rancheros is the story of a truck driver and a bunch of pigs and Mechanical Songs is about a marionette trying to escape the puppet world. Another, Cornelius is about a boy named Cornelius who communicates with animals, plants, and insects with his magical flute.? A true DIY project, the album was recorded in a room in Adam’s house, which is pictured on the album sleeve. “The walls are lined with red paisley and it is usually kept pretty dark. You can occasionally hear a nearby train blasting its whistle in the night, from inside the room.” They decided to keep the LP short, sharp and attention grabbing – a neat eight tracks. “The idea was to makeach song fit its own world and be its own ‘place’ that you can visit for 2 minutes before it’s over and fades out,they say. TRACKLIST: 1.Sam 2.Cornelius 3.The Memory Man 4.Huevos Rancheros 5.March of the Phantom Faces 6.When the Time Should Come 7.Mechanical Songs 8.The Echoes of Time

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