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The Smile, Live at Montreux Jazz Festival 2022

The Smile, Live at Montreux Jazz Festival 2022

The Smile is an alternative indie band consisting of Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead, along with Tom Skinner of Melt Yourself Down and Sons Of Kemet. The Smile released their debut album, ‘A Light For Attracting Attention’ earlier this year on May 13th, and aside from singles from that album, this live recording is the only other content we’ve heard from the band thus far. This live album consists of seven of the thirteen songs from ALFAA, and has a run time of about half the original album, coming in at just thirty-five minutes.

This new recording offers more stripped-down and raw versions of songs from ALFAA and has the lively, low-fidelity characteristics of a live recording. While this live album’s ambiance from the venue and more free-form instrumental breaks separate the tracks from their more polished, studio-recorded counterparts, the recording is still amazingly clear and balanced considering it is a festival recording. The trio delivers excellent live renditions of the studio tracks and is able to achieve a similarly atmospheric sound, as is found on the original album.

I am a huge fan of Radiohead, as well as Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood’s solo music so naturally, when The Smile released ALFAA earlier this year I was super excited. The original studio album is great, though personally, I prefer this newly released live album. The songs are the same, but the raw sound of the live recordings just appeals more to my ear. I typically do enjoy live recordings quite a bit, especially when they’re well done. I am always impressed with Thom Yorke’s live vocals, and this recording is no exception. I would recommend both this live album and the original to any Radiohead fan or lover of alternative indie/art pop. I have never heard any music from Tom Skinner’s past projects so I cannot speak to any similarities that these albums hold to his past musical endeavors, but I intend to check out both Melt Yourself Down and Sons Of Kemet in the future.

Favorite Tracks

  • Thin Thing

  • The Opposite

  • You Will Never Work In Television Again

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