Scream Hello – Smart & Stupid

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

Scream Hello

Smart & Stupid - Red Leader Records

There is no real introduction for Scream Hello. They’re not made of former members nor was they discovered by your favorite band’s singer. There’s no real hype about them online and while they have one CD under their belts, The Infinite Son, it didn’t make all that many waves and most people (myself included) have probably never heard it. Instead it is just a new band, formed a few years ago who are about to start making a name for themselves outside their hometown in New Jersey. Smart & Stupid, a four song EP to entice listeners before they release their debut full length – Everything Is Always Still Happening – later this year, is the band’s introduction. No drama, no hype, no big label (although Red Leader is starting to make quite a name for themselves); just four songs, take them or leave them.

And me? Well, I’d suggest taking them.

Cause Scream Hello, despite not being a band that I’d gush about to friends, have delivered a rather high caliber EP with Smart & Stupid. It manages to be simultaneously infectious, energetic and sincere as it wears countless different influences out on its sleeve all the while sounding refreshingly new. Elements of straight forward pop are merged with indie and late-nineties emo influences (emo before it went all wah wah) and it’s all combed together with some slight pop-punk facets creating a sound that seems all to diverse to work together but somehow manages to do just that. It’s highly polished without being obtrusively so and instead of bringing in the emo sound of today, they step back in time and nod their heads towards The Promise Ring, Saves The Day and Samiam. Even the chant of “It’s a long story” in the closer Vinegar & Baking Soda sounds like a slightly more polished version of Jawbreaker, so I guess you could add Jets To Brazil as yet another heavy influence on Scream Hello.

What holds them back from being a band that would be gush worthy is the slight tendency to over blow their songs. The EP’s two best songs, A Few Minutes and Vinegar & Baking Soda are always the records best songs but the songs themselves tend to stumble midway through. Both songs are built on soaring guitars and infectious melodies and both feature a rousing gang vocal portion that really make the tracks stand out; but both songs are around six minutes long (one a little less than six and one a little longer). They’re too long and both could stand to lose a few minutes. As for the piano ballad, rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, I have nothing to nitpick at it for but I feel it would work better in the full length as it disrupts the flow of the four songs here.

Still, Smart & Stupid is an EP which successfully plants their sound in the listener’s mind, creating some positive possibilities for their upcoming long-player; and when that comes out, they will actually have an introduction. Just next time, print the lyrics in the booklet instead of on the CD.