Lara Smiles

All For You

(Wonky Pop Records)



Working with Jamie Grashion and with input from Michael Rendall and Youth, no less this collection finds Smiles singing and playing guitar on a set of fresh material.

The band embraces drummer Sara Leigh and bassist Joe Singfield. Something of a festivals veteran, Lara seems to tap into her audience’s taste for sonic adventure and throws into each song the ingredients needed to enhance the dynamic qualities.

In other words, readers she goes for it. Quite a lot of the numbers here seem to be potential stage favourites.

Opening cut Coincidence bursts into life on a curling motif, delayed guitar stabs, frantic drumming, deliberately emphatic bass notes – quickly hitting an ascending chorus. The tempo then drops to a lurch then back to the busy. It’s as if Elastica could play! Miaow…

Save Yourself is bass-led, with pizzicato guitar and relentless galloping drums, then a sensual sneering vocal that sounds exactly right. Another tempo change! This is a dreamy rush of a group sound, confident and driving with trilling guitar scrubbing. On to All For You, a slice of almost martial-tempo’d pop with fabulous bass. Almost a manic Blondie derivative but Smiles is her own singer, no copyist. Maybe she’s heard Souxsie but from there on she’s her own girl.

Dictate Peace uses an edgy lope – how important is this drummer? – a kind of unsettling listen with more of that Cure/U2 guitar sound darting in here and there.

And It Hurts has a cool acoustic vibe, hear those new strings scrape! With a heavier sound jumping in and maybe the best vocal here, over the descending cadence. Oh How is a floating, twinkling cloud of sound to start with, the ensemble levitating on a sonic mist. A lovely ethereal interlude. Next up is Disconnected with its early Pink Floyd beat and mixture of singing styles. Zombie is all electronica sequencing and stabbing bass, as Lara lets the vocal flow. The chorus roars in as fuzz guitar squeals abound. Fighting’s Over takes an Armageddon approaching intro before plunging into a propulsive rocker. Final offering Turn It Around goes for a softly softly start with a lyric centred on regret, a novelette of a song that is haunting this listener.

An outfit with their own energetic approach, exploring the shadows.

Pete Sargeant 


(Many thanks to Sam C)

You can watch the official music video for 'All Of You' in this article.

Lara Smiles' new album 'All For You' is out now on Wonky Pop Records. 

For more information visit her official website here: