One of 2016’s biggest let-downs so far, along with ‘basically all global politics’ ‘Frank Ocean’s album release timekeeping’ and ‘baking programme controversy’, is that Smerz haven’t released enough records. It’s not that they haven’t got any songs, as anyone who was present for their utterly stellar headline performance at Ja Ja Ja London back in February will testify. Smerz have loads of songs, and what’s more, they’re all incredible. So it’s felt like we must have done something to upset them, seeing as they’ve not shared any of their musical treats with us ever since. Just as we were drafting our earnest handwritten letter apologising for being so needy, the band have emerged from their Copenhagen hideout with a new track called ‘Blessed’ – and we are, indeed.
Picking up directly where ‘Because‘ left off, ‘Blessed’ is, on the surface, at least, a lazy, low-slung jam, peppered with chopped vocal samples and subtle, atmospheric synth flourishes. However, it’s the insistence of the minimal beats and repeated bass tones which give it a subtle tension, preventing any semblance of chillout from creeping in, which is very much a good thing. Where Smerz set themselves apart is to be able to traverse the narrow boundary lines of musical styles and tones in a cat-like fashion: it all seems so effortless and relaxed, and even as one wrong foot could have them tumbling down, there’s always that watchful eye, a certain restraint and well-timed tail-flick which has the whole operation elegantly executed without so much as a whisker out of place.
It would be so easy for an artist like Smerz to be turning out enormous records drowning in beats and synth euphoria, but it’s this measured approach, their restraint, their ability to hold back just a little, but still give more than enough, which makes them so unique and so exciting. We’ll just have to learn to be as patient as they are, it seems.
‘Blessed’ will appear on an EP called Okey which is due for release via Hard Up Records on October 14th.