Album Review: Smith & Myers – Volume 1 & 2
Brent Smith and Zach Myers have recorded as a duo before but, like Billie Joe Armstrong’s upcoming No Fun Mondays, this collection feels very much like a lockdown project. Stripped down and straightforward, the two-volume set features 10 tracks on each, alternating between covers and originals. The covers were voted for by fans, which has led to a pretty diverse selection – some of which work far better than others.
Volume 1 kicks off with the strident Not Mad Enough, directly inspired by and written in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Neil Young’s protest classic Rockin’ In The Free World makes the perfect companion piece and sounds great in a piano-led format. Post Malone’s Better Now doesn’t work quite so well acoustically, but the duo’s own Panic! gets things back on track with a superb and suitably jittery take on anxiety.
Over on Volume 2, Bad At Love opens proceedings with Brent pouring a disarmingly honest confessional over a simple framework of chords. Another original, New School Shiver, provides one of the collection’s finest moments with a wonderfully hooky acoustic groove, while GBL GBD is a sunny country anthem to positivity. One More Time sees Myers stamping on the distortion peddle, with a fuzzed out, bluesy solo and a delivery that owes a lot to the White Stripes’ Icky Thump.
Of the covers on Volume 2, Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell works surprisingly well but if you’re looking for a worthwhile reimagination of Billy Eilish’s Bad Guy, stick with The Interrupters. Elsewhere, REM’s Losing My Religion sounds pleasingly fragile and it all ends with a pretty standard karaoke version of Don’t Look Back In Anger by Oasis. It’s very much a mixed bag but one that’s worth delving into.
For Fans Of: Shinedown, Black Stone Cherry, Billie Joe Armstrong
Volume 1 & 2 are out now via Atlantic.
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