It’s been some nine years since Tom Smith and Andy Burrows delivered their bleak winter masterpiece ‘Funny Looking Angels’. Now the duo return treating us to another full length release of 10 tracks of their unique brand of songwriting.
The album Only Smith & Burrows Is Good Enough sees both musicians writing and fulfilling instrumental duties. Written in the UK , the pair decamped to Nashville hooking up with Grammy Award winning producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Norah Jones, Kings Of Leon) to record the album over a six week period.
The result “is the most idyllic musical getaway I could have ever dreamed of” says Burrows with Smith adding that “I never thought this second album would not happen. It has its own force which is the power of our collaborative writing and voices.”
A bright and breezy opening with first track ‘All The Best Moves’. Tom Smith is still sounding amazing with that deep howl. The country influence creeping in with a twang of a guitar during the course where we also hear Andy Burrows bringing in the rear full of harmonies.
‘Buccaneer Rum Jum’ a jaunty trip not surprising considering the title. Burrows takes lead and does a great job on this track. Straight away the guys have each added a little bit of their own personality into each track.
Three tracks in and each one has a different feel. ‘Spaghetti’ is fast paced indie with a scatter gun guitar rhythm that all bouncy and full of energy. An energy that simmers down for next track ‘Old TV Shows’. A track of longing and remembrance which sees the two guys taking on lead vocal duties. Burrows laying down a verse for Smith to bring the chorus.
Mournful piano chords and Smith’s voice is sometimes all we need. But then Burrows joins in and completes the picture. ‘Parliament Hill’ gently builds
A track that shows off the guys clever songwriting especially when it comes to the vocal line is the sweet sounding ‘Bottle Tops’ all about childhood. With some brilliant lyrical phrasing over an addictive drum beat and a chorus.
‘I Want You Back In My Life’ huge piano chords die off to leave a lone acoustic and simple percussion of hand claps and Smith’s voice as mourns a lost love.
‘Aimee Move On’ moves into a crooner track towards the end packing in the emotion with vocal harmonies. Such a great vocal performance from both the guys. With a heartfelt jaunty chorus that breaks the urgency of the verses.
Where to go after that last track is solved by track ‘Too Late’ which sees a single string riff on an acoustic under a quick fire vocals. The two guys join together for the chorus giving the track an emotive punch.
‘Straight Up Like A Mohican’ Swapping vocals on the intro and verses with simple finger snaps and hand clasp may start this track off but by the end its a huge joyous crash of horns, voices and strings. A celebration to end the album on a high.
With two master songwriters you know what you are going to get. Great performances make this an album of great song after great song. Helped by the wonderful clear production letting each instrument and voice be heard. It’s not till you have had a couple of spins that the magic is heard. The lyrical phrasing and clever use of the two different voices with Smiths crooning baritone and Burrows high lilt sound great on their own, but when they join together the album really takes off.
Sometimes all you need is Tom Smiths voice and a mournful piano, until Burrow joins in and the picture is complete. It’s no surprise that an album from these two talents is going to be a collection of well penned songs, but the execution of each track is well thought out you can’t help but get lost in it. There are sheer moments of joy but also heavy emotional tracks that are catchy as hell and stay with you long after the album has finished. Perfect for when you just want an album of solid tracks to enjoy.
Have a listen to ‘I Want You Back In My Life’
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Order the album here