The Smile Ease
Alaska, United States
Indie Rock / Indie Pop
Not everything in Alaska is icicles and igloos. The Smile Ease, an Anchorage, Alaska-based band, has been warming the mind and souls of Alaska since the group began in 2001. The current line-up of Jacks (words, vocals, arrangements, guitar, piano and synth), Marc Bourdon (bass, guitar, synth, and vocals), Nate Foerster (guitars, vocals), Shane StClair (drums), and sometimes Ryan Bohac (multi-instrumentalist) is a decidedly organic amalgam which maintains the influence of past band members and finds inspiration in a diverse group of guest musicians who augment their sound. "We're more of a collective than a definitive group,"says Jacks.
The band's amorphous line-up brings an intriguing eclecticism to the music. Lush, complex, and romantic melodies ooze from the piano and vocal arrangement of Jacks and Foerster and are seamlessly put in clean relief by the straightforward drum work of StClair. Bourdon says the songs rely on "an emotional base" with the music crafted around literate and sometimes witty lyrics.
Says Rose Wallin of the Anchorage Press: "The songs aren't driven by instrumentality or lyrics alone, but by the way the sounds supplement words so intuitively that all elements become essential. Nothing sounds overblown and the music is so close to seamless it's easier to absorb if you're not listening for a particular riff or turn of phrase" The tracks are complex and absorbing, easy to fixate on and difficult to stop thinking about.'
The Smile Ease has performed in front of thousands of fans when they shared the stage with CAKE for multiple outings in the summer of 2007, and the Mountain Goats in 2008