Smoke And Smoke - Love Suffers Long (Cover Artwork)

Smoke And Smoke

Love Suffers Long (2004)


It is always impressive when a band can create a full sound from only two instruments. Look at bands like The White Stripes, The Black Keys, and early Against Me who have all been able to produce songs that are not lacking in spite of their minimal instrumentation. Even more impressive is when a band can overcome the two instrument handicap without the use of a just a bass and drums. Smoke and Smoke is one of the few bands who has accomplished this feat.

On Love Suffers Long a bass and a mess of effects have given birth to a freakish sonic child that can cover an array of sounds such as a heavily distorted guitar or a sleazy synth. Backing this twisted use of bass is a barrage of loud hardcore styled drums, while on top are ranted and raw vocals that are delivered in an almost spoken word style. Adding to this abrasive noisy freak out is the production that is dirty and sounds like it was done in someone's basement.

All of this noise could get out of control so Smoke and Smoke try and tame their chaotic sound by repeating vocal lines over and over like mantras from a pissed of hipster poet. At points it is intriguing and moving but at the other times lines like, "Love is a lifeboat with a hole in it," are just a little too hard to take seriously.

Smoke and Smoke get credit for taking up a challenge that other bands seemed afraid to attempt. The results are mixed however. Sure, it is impressive how many different tones they are able to create with just a bass and drums and how full of a sound they produce, but when compared to other two instrument bands like the aforementioned Black Keys or Against Me's early incarnation they don't seem quite as impressive anymore. Instead of being focused song writers, Smoke and Smoke take more of an avant-garde approach which is often interesting, but at points becomes a little too hard to swallow.