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I hope people don't write off the Smoosh record because it's self-released. Or because it's a mostly web release. Or because it sounds more mainstream than the last two. Or because they're young. Or because they might eventually go to college.

Smoosh is three sisters: Asy on keyboards and lead vocals, Chloe on drums, and Maia on bass. They don't give out their last name, and that's not a post-punk nod; it's because Asy's the only one over the age of 18. They made two records as a duo, before Maia joined. Those affirmed Smoosh as one of the finest acts of the past decade. This one goes further.

The instrumental interplay (enriched by Maia) still enraptures, and Chloe, a sadly under-praised drummer, still mixes martial urgency with a knack for folding Keith Moon–like chaos into the omelet of song structure. Asy's breathy vibrato sometimes loses the note in the pitch dips, and her inhales sound as loud as her phrasing. But she's absorbed soul music. She throws out pain in one line and unguent in the next, swirling antipodes into an ever-ascending barber pole of harm and healing.

Eventually, though, healing eclipses harm. How badly do we need art this candid, yet this hopeful? Consider Rebecca Wells, who died in her Southern California cubicle on a Friday and wasn't found, or even missed, until a day later. This record may not save the world. But it's free. Let it work on you while you work on the world.

  • Album: Withershins (2010)
  • Artist: Smoosh
  • Label: smoosh.com
  • Songs: (1) Finnerodja (2) We Are Our Own Lies (3) Promises (4) The World's Not Bad (5) The Line (6) Dark Shine (7) Great Skies (8) In The Fall (9) Aaarplane (10) Call of the Mid Afternoon (11) Bridge No. 219242
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