• this familiar smile Ribbons, Regards & the More Machine (CD, £9.95)

    label: lockjaw

    This Familiar Smile formed in the middle-of-nowhere former mining town of Cumnock, in rural Scotland, 65 miles from Glasgow, home of underage pregnancy and drug addiction. Still, could be worse… The bleak surroundings and lack of job opportunities spurred the band on to write of their trials and tribulations, social awkwardness, failed romance, their stories, friends' stories, how we are shaped by the places we live. Nothing new or groundbreaking in the theme, just honest tales that anyone can relate to, but it's been pulled off beautifully. After their first EP What Kind Of Monster Am I? in 2007 there was quite a gap in which time the band went through some trials and nearly called it a day but managed to hold it all together and have now crafted a 10-track album full of strange timings, exquisite vocals and surprise hooks. This Familiar Smile's influences come from a lot of old school “emo”, when it wasn’t merely pop punk branded as emo: Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral, Braid, more progressive bands like Shudder To Think, the old school prog of Rush, At The Drive-In and Cursive.

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