Free To Stay

At the age of 14, I remember having your usual adolescent school-boys-life-crisis tremors. However, if I were growing up now as Asya (14) or Chloe (11) of the sister duo, Smoosh, I would also have stage memories with the likes of Jimmy Eat World, Death Cab For Cutie, Sleater-Kinney, Cat Power and Pearl Jam - not to mention being mentored by Death Cab's Jason McGerr. Life would be grand in the scheme of name-dropping among the older indie kids, while my aspiring recess peers would just have to wait their turn.

Following the 2004 debut of She Like Electric, the girls return with Free To Stay (produced by McGerr), a tighter collaboration that wrangles the lyrical and instrumental uncertainty of Electric. "Find A Way" jumpstarts the album in its melodic progression of piano, gleaming in optimism, while "Rock Song" does what it says with its heaving crunchy guitar. Between the two albums, Smoosh presents a more confident pitch throughout Free To Stay in synchronizing instrument to lyric and the overall packaging of songs that have had a chance to age two years. With its complete instrumental rendition, "Organ Talk" impresses steps above elementary rehearsal (perhaps crossing over into a James Brown-inspired soundtrack).

In the category of pre-teens, Smoosh represents a prime example of musicianship that spills into the adult indie world. Although their child-like sound is apparent, the music certainly has to be placed in context in order to fully appreciate the album. Like Death Cab's Plans, which received mixed reviews, the songs had to be placed in the context of the sad record, not compared to a cheerful album. Smoosh are youngsters making music for grown-ups, and with this awareness supposedly at the ages of Asya and Chloe, I'd say time was on my side.


Free To Stay