Scream Hello - Smart & Stupid (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Scream Hello

Smart & Stupid (2008)

Red Leader

Scream Hello's 2006 EP, The Infinite Son, was a promising enough release that displayed proficient chops in the obvious vein of Braid. With their Smart & Stupid EP, Scream Hello have dropped the exclamation point and stepped up their game considerably.

While the four songs on Smart & Stupid won't exactly shake the Braid comparisons (check out the riffs about 45 seconds into "Vinegar & Baking Soda"), there's a much greater emphasis on melody, hooks and strong, creative guitar interplay. Despite the length of the tracks -- averaging over four minutes apiece -- the band are just as playful and entirely more invigorating over the course of the songs, helping to somehow retain interest through each passing second. That the tracks also seem to be individual monuments composed of several movements (again, epic closer "Vinegar & Baking Soda") themselves helps, too.

Through the subtle dynamicism of opener "A Few Minutes," Scream Hello has you singing along to the casually excited chorus ("Here it is! / Here it is! / I feel a change in the sound"), then following them all the way to the group-shouted, Piebald-style bridge. That's the one other band you're likely to hear pay a large influence to Smart & Stupid, and it gives Scream Hello a wonderful candor, optimistic shine and a definite feel of camaraderie.

If Smart & Stupid seems frustratingly short, no worries -- the band's upcoming full-length, Everything Is Always Still Happening, is set to drop well before the end of the year, will presumably have a complete batch of new songs and looks to clock in at close to an hour.

A Few Minutes