Written by Christianna Marks
Smoke Signals’ self titled debut album, which was released on August 8, 2011, not only manages to be daring and fresh, but is also charmingly familiar, all at the same time. The album is strongly driven by a blues vibe, but there is so much more going on under the surface. Touches of folk, classic rock and bluegrass also run through the life vain of this album. See, in a world where many of the bands out there are releasing the same old thing in a different package, Smoke Signals dares to be original and different. To take music back to what it was meant to be, while adding their own twist to it, making this nine-track album, something truly special.
“Smoke Signals” was recorded earlier this year in a home in Silverlake, California. All nine songs that comprise the album were recorded live in the living room and were completed in nine days. The fact that “Smoke Signals” was recorded live proves the extreme talent of these gents. The band is comprised of Coley O’Toole, Joe Ballaro and Zac Clark. Not only are they brilliant, talented musicians, but they also have perfected their voices. As you listen to “Smoke Signals” their rich, full harmonies become apparent. O’Toole’s powerhouse voice is so unique and honest that you want keep listening. Trust me, none of these gents’ vocals or musicianship will leave you wanting!
The album opens up with the tune “Falling To Pieces,” and within seconds you know you’re in for a fun ride. It starts off with O’Toole’s vocals, then a guitar comes in, and by the time you make it to the chorus, the whole band has joined in, both vocally and instrumentally! It’s quite a ride. There are plenty of foot stomping, hand-clapping tunes, including: “Falling To Pieces”, “Searching”, “Black Holes”, “House On The Water” and “In The Wind”. Plus there are some slower tunes, that don’t miss a beat and are still carried by the heart and soul of the band. ”It’s True”, “All Offenses”, “Maybe” and “Lonely Hearts Interlude”, may have a slower tempo, but the blues beats still show their face.
Honestly, this is one of the most original, mesmerizing and unique albums I have heard all year. The album is now available for download on the Smoke Signals website. Run and get yourself a copy of their fantastic debut! You won’t be sorry!