The Smith Street Band - No One Gets Lost Anymore (Cover Artwork)

The Smith Street Band

No One Gets Lost Anymore (2011)

Poison City Records

2011 was the year that Melbourne's the Smith Street Band went from relative obscurity in Australia's small, burgeoning punk scene to being the "go to" band for many international acts that have toured Oz in recent times. There are a variety of reasons for this development, but the obvious answer is due to the band's stellar debut album, No One Gets Lost Anymore. Unfortunately, this album has had little impact outside of Australia, where it is often cited in 2011 "Best Of" lists.

The first thing that grabs the listener is the heartfelt and engaging lyrics penned by frontman Wil Wagner. Wagner's words are delivered with brutal honesty and urgency, reminiscent of a young Tom Gabel in his most personal songs. The songs, each a story in their own right, touch on a number of different themes, including shitty public transport, sibling relations, touring, drug use, partying and the list goes on. While this may seem cliché in a scene flooded with folk-punk crossover bands, it is Wagner's ability to engage the audience through his careful wordsmithing that allows listeners, from many walks of life, to enjoy and relate to his lyrics.

Wagner commands listeners' attention by using differing delivery styles throughout the album. High-energy anthems, such as "I Ain't Safe" and "Get High, See Mice," are sung with a singing/yelling combination. The lyrics feel as though they're sung ahead of the rhythms they are backed by, thus giving a desperate feel to these songs. Slower ballads, such as "The Belly of Your Bedroom" and "My Little Sinking Ship," are sung as though they are a sobering confession, pouring out of the singer.

This is a folk-punk album, no questions asked. However, the album is full of clever guitar work and percussion, which gives the vocals a steadfast platform from which to be launched. There are crescendos in all the right places, adding much-needed body to the choruses; tempo changes that accentuate continually push the vocals along; and staccato that lightens the album's less serious songs, such as "Sigourney Weaver." There's no doubt that the changing pace throughout this release keeps it fresh from start to finish.

This young band has divebombed into the Aussie punk scene, earning themselves well-deserved pats on the back. No One Gets Lost Anymore is an exciting album from start to finish, and has meaning that transcends the bounds of their home and unabashedly favorite city, Melbourne. This a very strong first release with songs that will make you smile--whether it is singing them at the top of your lungs at a party or quietly on your own.