June 20, 2023

The Smile - "Bending Hectic"

Following last year's wonderful debut record A Light for Attracting Attention, The Smile have shared a new, one-off, track ahead of their upcoming tour.

For months, The Smile have been posting images to their social media accounts of the band in the studio hard at work on the follow-up to their excellent debut. During a recent interview, the band revealed that they were sitting on a mountain of new tunes, many of which they plan to include on album number two. Over the weekend, they shared a clip of them playing the track "Bending Hectic," a tune they premiered during last year's tour and one many of us assumed would make the new record. Well, today the band has shared the studio recording of the song which they say is a one-off ahead of their upcoming tour of North America. The sprawling eight-minute tune is a gorgeous one that starts off with wispy, sinewy guitar licks that unveil themselves like a flower blossoming in slow motion. Sparse drumming hits like the pitter-patter of a gentle summer rain and lush strings add majestic undertones while Thom's ever-splendid vocals drip with haunting beauty, sparkling like dew in the morning grass. Around the five and a half minute mark, things darken and the strings screech, almost like a warning for the impending storm ahead. After six minutes of refined elegance, the song implodes on itself, destroying the very thing it has become as Thom and Jonny revert back to their alt-rock habits of epic guitar swells and blown-out distortion while Tom Skinner keeps things anchored with steady precision. It's a dazzling journey that unfolds with daunting splendor before it commences with rapturous thunder and a downpour of frenzied guitar. During their shows last year, "Bending Hectic" became a bit of a marvel, a stunning mammoth of a song that unfurled with sublime grace that felt almost too expansive to fully comprehend and perhaps one that needed to be fully road-tested before committing it to tape. Clearly, the band's live experimentations paid off and the magic captured in the studio is a breath-taking sonic exploration that immediately shines as one of their greatest achievements.

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