‘Smile Room’ EP
Self-released: February 2015
This North Carolina quartet play an understated brand of stoner rock that relies on solid, high-quality riffs rather than psychedelic meanderings or earth-shattering guitar tones.
‘Smile Room’ is their debut release, and it showcases a young band that clearly knows its craft – the four songs on offer here are all well-constructed and thoroughly convincing creative portrayals. Lavamouth bring a tight but unhurried COC-style groove and a Cerebral Fix-style vocal snarl, together with a seething punk undercurrent that never bubbles into overt aggression.
Lavamouth’s primary focus seems to be on the music rather than its potential impact, and they clearly write from the heart rather than in any kind of effort to stand out from the crowd. ‘Smile Room’ is not especially heavy or ground-breaking, but it’s hugely enjoyable. There is something of the timeless qualities of Kyuss, Cathedral or Lord Vicar in their delivery; it’s as much dark European basement as barbecue-hot North American desert.
Opening track ‘Fire In The Hole’ is elegant and easy-going. Ugliness and ecstasy co-operate on the song ‘Solaria’, while ‘Hide My Face’ is a charming but slightly simple composition. The fourth and final song opens with a dollop of NWOBHM, a doomified version of Saxon, before descending into sludgy irritation.
‘Smile Room’ EP is a cogent and credible introduction to a new stoner rock/doom band that can brighten up any room with its relaxed style, classic sound and solid hooks. Hopefully this is just an appetiser before a future full-length release that will see the band push their musical boundaries further still.