Smirk is the solo project of Nick Vicario (Public Eye, Crisis Man, Autistic Youth), and while you’ll hear similarities to some of his past more punk bands these 12 tracks from his new record titled LP, highlight Vicario having fun at this point in his career.
Smirk has a much more minimalist art to the songs, which will bring comparisons to classic groups like Wire and Gang Of Four but with a modern flare that you could see Ty Segall being a member of the group. The angular song structures with sharp turns and lo-fi distortion is the gritty part of Smirk that really appealed to me. The little things such as the noodling on guitar during a song like “Step” is a great example of Smirk’s freestyle playing that is super catchy. The amped pumped punk on “Goons On The Beach” is much more electric than several other songs but represents another side of Vicario that works.
Smirk’s LP is a fast and enjoyable 25 minute rollercoaster that contains an edge in every track. LP sounds so free of restraints that it keeps you guessing what is next while remaining cohesive. This is an accomplishment when you consider this album is the unification of a pair of cassettes Smirk released last year but clearly shine brighter as one piece. Looking forward to more Smirk as this debut only seems like Vicario is scratching the surface of his music discovery here!
Key Tracks: “S. Construction” / “Eyes Conversing” / “Step”
Artists With Similar Fire: Connections / Ty Segall / Gang Of Four
-Reviewed by Thomas Wilde