If what it takes to get All Smiles noticed is the fact that he is Jim Fairchild from a little band called Grandaddy, then so be it. Once you pop the record in though and listen to it, that's when you realize it is so much more than that. All Smiles' debut LP, Ten Readings Of A Warning, was recorded on 8-track in living rooms up and down the West Coast with a collage of friends including Janet Weiss (Sleater Kinney, Qusai), Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, Black Heart Procession), Danny Seim (Menomena) and Solon Bixler (Great Northern). The end result is a low budget but endearing recording that shows Jim's vulnerable side singing songs that are reminiscent of Badly Drawn Boy and later Ben Folds.
The first single, "Moth In A Cloud Of Smoke," stands out the most with its big chorus and fuzzy guitars. On the other side are more quiet acoustic songs, such as "I Know It's Wrong," "Summer Stay" and "Pile Of Burning Leaves," where if you listen hard enough you might hear the echoes of walls and the sounds of the band's surroundings while the track was recorded. It's things like this that give the album personality and set it apart from other solo efforts from ex-band members with over-the-top production that isn't needed. About a minute and a half into "The Velvetest Balloon" Granddaddy's influence comes full force with haunting a haunting synth and piano combination. Jim also pulls out a few surprises on the record. The finale on "Of Course It's Not Up To Me," is crunchy, polished (as much as this album can be) and beautiful.
With so many big names coming out in music right now there is an unfortunate chance that All Smiles might fly under the radar. This just might be the sleeper of the Spring worth checking out.
"Moth In A Cloud Of Smoke" MP3