Melbourne rockers The Smith Street Band have today shared their sixth studio album Life After Football via their own label Pool House Records. Featuring the singles “I Don’t Wanna Do Nothing Forever”, “Everyone is Lying to You for Money” and the title track, the new record has something for all fans to enjoy.
Life After Football was written and produced by the band themselves, recorded by bassist Michael “Fitzy” Fitzgerald and mixed by Anton Hagop (Silverchair, Powderfinger, Missy Higgins) at their home studio in Melbourne. It’s simple and fun yet demonstrates maturity, with evolved instrumentation and introspective lyrics. Every song is one you can jump around to while remaining deeply personal.
Urgent opener “A Conversation with Billy Bragg About the Purpose of Art” is summed up pretty well in the title. With big riffs, fast rhythms and boisterous vocals, it sounds like the encore of a live set from the get go. Next is dynamic track “When I Change My Name” to carry the energy through with anthemic choruses and liberal tambourine. “Everyone is Lying to You for Money” is a vehement account of being on antidepressants as a repetitive robot voice and layered guitars keep you hanging on until the last word.
Moving along, “Dilute” is an upbeat rock song with bright guitars and pummeling drums before a slow and melodic bridge. The dynamics of this track make it one of the best deep cuts on the record. Title track “Life After Football” has a long simmering verse that crescendos to a singalong refrain then drops off to a moving harmony with gang vocals. While it’s about frontman Wil Wagner being picked up at a football field after a severe storm damaged their studio, it also reflects the album’s underlying themes of loss and unity.
The midway point of the record slows things down with the picked riffs and soft vocals of “Black T-Shirt”, but kicks in again for “A Conversation with Your Old School Friends About Negative Gearing”. Accessible single “I Don’t Wanna Do Nothing Forever” is traditional Smith Street and one that is sure to go down well live. Distorted melodies and a frenetic rhythm section bolster the passionate vocals in one of the album’s more memorable tracks.
Later in the tracklisting, “Elvis” has more intricate guitars with bouncy drums and Wagner’s distinct vocals as he yells “I’m an alien” over and over. “Nightmare” is a sad yet punchy song about moving on that will have you dancing away your problems to fervent riffs and manic drums. Finally, five-minute closer “I Deserve Love” is a culmination of the album’s themes and sounds resulting in a beautiful profession of self-care.