Fans of Bloc Party, Bravery, and the like should get their hands on
Smothered in Hugs‘ new album, “The Healing Power of Injury.” It’s marked by an irrepressibly, relentlessly happy rhythm section, strong pop vocals, and sharp and tight hooks. “Visa Problems” is easily as good a pop song as anything I’ve heard in the power pop genre, with its infectious, seamless movements from chorus-to-verse. I can’t image how this song can be performed live—vocalist Ryan Crane never seems to take a breath. And this is not the only great song on the record. “Young Flare,” “Die Trying,” “Ghost Believah,” and “Foundation” are other stellar standouts.
And have I mentioned the drumming? I can’t mention it enough. Aaron Crane percussion is extraordinary. It’s fast, but not frivolous. He knows when to provide support for the band, and when it’s appropriate to spread out, take over, and dominate. Which he can, on a dime and at any time.
Even the slower songs work—which is often difficult for a band who makes this kind of music. “Chest Protection” is almost entirely piano, it’s short, and it has no apparent chorus. Yet it feels like pop and I can’t stop listening to it. It’s wonderful to find a band that pays as much attention to craft as catch, to hook as verse, and to the overall quality of a song. This one of the best bands in Canada right now, and when I last checked, they were still unsigned. You can order their album directly, at their site.
And trust me, you won’t be sorry. These guys can’t stay underground much longer.