In contrast to their peers, there is no masculine, gaudy posing with The Smith Street Band. With an unmasked more-Australian-than-thou vocal delivery and heart proudly on sleeve lyrics, the band have built their reputation on their sincerity, their fragility, the poetry in their lyrics and their impressive live shows. More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me (henceforth to be referred to as More Scared) offers more of that and some adventurous changes with the addition of new sounds in the form of synths and choirs to their expansive story-telling song-writing style.
In a recent interview, singer-songwriter Wil Wagner said that the album charts a relationship from start to finish and that explains while the album sounds like it’s been split in two. The first half providing a soundtrack to those euphoric early days of a new romance, while side two is darker as it deals with its inevitable unravelling.
While Throw Me In The River starts slowly with Something I Can Hold In My Hands, More Scared comes steaming out of the gates with an unintelligible declaration from Wagner and the explosive punk-rock of Forrest . The track is an exercise in sustained intensity and it sets an upbeat tone that’s backed up by the imagined first date of Birthdays and the anthemic new live-favourite, Death To The Lads.
The triple play from 25, It Kills Me To Have To Be Alive and Suffer mark the darkest moments of the album and it’s during these tracks that the band are at their most compelling. During interviews and live shows Wagner pulls no punches about his own struggles with mental health and it’s in these moments that he appears at his most sincere and vulnerable – which is a large part of why this band have struck such a chord with Australian audiences.
More Scare Of You Than You Are Of Me is another one for the annals of Australian rock. If you’re expecting anything better to be released this year, you’re just being greedy. The bandwagon is ready, hop aboard!