Chicago-based alt-rockers Smut reach for the comfort in shoegaze with How the Light FeltLeor Galilon November 9, 2022 at 6:00 pm

Alt-rock five-piece Smut formed in Cincinnati in 2014, and within a couple years, their shoegaze-dappled heavy rock had caught the ear of Bully front woman Alicia Bognanno, who offered them a crucial tour-support spot. In the time since Smut’s previous full-length, 2017’s End of Sam-soon, they’ve relocated to Chicago, dialed back the aggression in their wall of sound, and shifted to a more plaintive approach to songwriting. The band’s new How the Light Felt (Bayonet) leans into shoegaze’s ocean-size capacity for tranquility, and this gentler approach sharpens every little detail. They toy with elements from outside shoegaze’s blissful lexicon, though they don’t all land gracefully; the brief drum ’n’ bass loop that perks up a lonesome guitar melody on “Morningstar” goes over a lot better than the cheesy record scratches that stumble into the acoustic picking on “Unbroken Thought.” Smut excel when they console, such as on the restorative “After Silver Leaves.” Front woman Tay Roebuck sings about a former lover who called her by another woman’s name, a painful relationship that her younger self grew out of when she no longer needed the validation; her kindhearted, mellow vocals could help someone in a similar spot imagine a better future for themselves.

  Smut’s How the Light Felt is available on Bandcamp.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at the Museum of Contemporary Art

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