Anti Fade Records supergroup Smarts reveal blistering and chaotic debut album, ‘Who Needs Smarts Anyway?’
19.10.2020

Anti Fade Records supergroup Smarts reveal blistering and chaotic debut album, ‘Who Needs Smarts Anyway?’

Photo by Jamie Wdziekonski
Words by Alex Callan

With fast paced riffs like The Living Eyes, yells of Ausmuteants, horns similar to Bananagun and the angular riffs of Gonzo, ‘Who Needs Smarts Anyway’ feels like the new epitome of AntiFade.

If you have followed Anti Fade Record releases in the past, Smarts’ debut LP ‘Who Needs Smarts Anyway?’ will genuinely blow you away.

Not only is it a ‘supergroup’ of members from all over the Anti Fade roster (The Living Eyes, Alien Nosejob, Ausmuetants, Parsnip, Bannanagun and more), it is the perfect culmination of all of these bands rounding out the consistent and holistic approach Anti Fade Records has to its sound as a label.

From the beginning of ‘Attention Span’ it just feels like home. Mitch Campleman’s high tuning of the guitar and Billy Gardner’s punk rooted vocals seem iconic to the Melbourne music scene at this point, as is Antifade’s consistent blending of instrumentation throughout releases, with Smarts bearing no distinction.

Whether it’s tying in jazzy undertones via the use of Stella Rennex on Sax or guitar driven punk riffs, Smarts are really pushing the bar of what can fit within a genre. It’s almost like it’s jazz with surf-punk qualities; an explosion of genres that shouldn’t work nearly as flawlessly as it does.

The deep reverb of the bass on ‘Golden Arches’ is contrasted by the opposite approach on ‘Smart Phone;’ a song ruled by it’s intricate jazz fills on the drums, a Jack Sonni quality to the guitars and reliance on instrumentals for most of the song. In a compositional sense ‘Smart Phone’ shows a quirky and unique insight into Smarts, perfect for listeners who may not have previously delved into the realms of garage or art punk.

Being one of the two songs fronted by Jake Robertson (Hierophants, Alien Nosejob) ‘Cause For Alarm’ has the franticness of hardcore acts like Agnostic Front whilst ‘Don’t Slap The Hand That Feeds You’ delivers a downtown 70’s swagger to it’s riff.

‘Smart Mans’ bassline faintly ties back to 60’s classics like Shocking Blue’s ‘Love Buzz’ and ‘Time on Time’ delivers synths that feel like an ediger Gary Numan.

With fast paced riffs like The Living Eyes, yells of Ausmuteants, horns similar to Bananagun and the angular riffs of Gonzo, ‘Who Needs Smarts Anyway’ feels like the new epitome of AntiFade and definitely highlights Smarts as the one act to keep an eye on (in a label filled with up and comers.)

Who Needs Smarts Anyway is out now via Anti Fade Records
5/5