The members of Bath's All Smiles In Wonderland already appear to be very active in the area's music scene. Last year, they came together with a duo of singles and are now ready to follow this with their first EP 'State of Serenity'. They call themselves "punk's cousins", though they could easily be claimed to give nods to any number of genres: from indie to emo.
First track, ‘Stranger’ sets things up with reflective and introspective lyrics that deal with mental health and self-identity, and though it's melancholy opening refrain reflects lyrically on dark themes, when the music breaks through it is nothing short of empowering. The guitars chime and race and the drums power everything along at a frenetic pace. I enjoy the uncaring call of "shut up you're fine" reply of the backing vocal; a stark contrast to the eloquence of the lead vocal.
‘Bones’ moves at a slightly more delicate pace, led by a powerful vocal from Maddie Christy. It too shifts gears in parts, with power chords slashing through its middle section and an outro with great impact. A masterful piece of songwriting done justice by an outstanding band performance.
‘Spiderweb’ showcases another fine vocal performance. Although I like the way the band are able to switch vocalists during their songs, Christy's voice is a fine weapon that tends to take centre stage. Accompanied by a sole acoustic guitar, here it glides elegantly over the music.
The EP closes with ‘Whatever Makes You Sleep At Night’, an acoustic version of last year's second single. The song seems to compassionately address a partner or loved-one, as ‘Bones’ did. It's stripped back, acoustic feel elevates the lyrics in the mix.
All Smiles In Wonderland have a lot going for them. Their disarming and emotionally honest lyrics are delivered with great vocals and expertly delivered musicianship. Their first E.P whets the appetite to one day experience these powerful songs performed live.
Written by Matt Nicholson