Smiling Ivy are 5 piece band from Sheffield. Their sound is impossible to define, it is definitely ska yet they are diverse; they mix up several genres effortlessly and continuously inject fun and fast paced feeling into every track. I can only describe as contagious, you say ‘oh, its not my type of music‘ but I can assure you that you will love it.
Their album, Quick Sin Jukebox, kicks off with ‘Lab Rats‘ which immediately reminds you of Madness, a track dominated with sax, jazzy and groovy sounds and the ascending and descending vocal notes create a lively sound. ‘Free Ride‘ doesn’t lose any of these things as the infectious sound and lyrics of the song take over your mind.
‘Offshore‘ is next to greet your ears, it boasts a fast, dancey tempo and an unmistakable hint reggae. This is not the only reggae appearance on the album, ‘Spent‘ alludes to this genre with it’s plodding beat and auspicious notes of saxophone along with ‘Wrong Side‘ where it begins with reggae tones and evens out into a fast yet casual drumming interval. In this track, the female voice also adds another dimension to the song, a factor you wouldn’t expect it to work yet it does amazingly.
‘Let Loose‘ does exactly what it says on the tin, an electric whining guitar pulls it near to rock. Its lyrics, its saxophone and its being forces you to dance and move and allows you to really ‘let loose’. ‘Trick or Treat‘, just the title of this song makes me happy reminding me of Halloween. The song has a simple, running beat which mostly dominates the track. ‘Private Dreams and Public Nightmares‘ feels like a dream, it contains a pre-recorded voice and flaunts a jazzy, sluggish beat.
‘Blissfully Blind‘ has a rap and Caribbean feel to it while being very instrumental based. It also hosts a violin piece which makes it slightly more serious than their other songs without being too pretentious about it. ‘Phenomenon‘ discusses reality TV with a contagious beat and the raspy voice which has become a staple of their songs by this point in the album. The final track, ‘Back in ’04‘, is the most interesting track of the album through their lyrics, it tells the story of the bands past and how they got to where they are today. It takes guts for a band to make a song about themselves but the band have such a quirky story, it would be stupid not to tell it, plus, it is the perfect end to a phenomenal debut album.