EP Premiere: Smol Data—’Smol Data: An EP’
Posted: by The Editor
Contrary to their *extremely online* moniker that contains an internet colloquialism for something that’s “small and cute,” Smol Data sound particularly “irl” on their debut, Smol Data: An EP. Although it’s not clear how the Long Island quartet actually formed, the group have a distinct chemistry on these five songs (which we’re premiering below) that suggests they’ve been playing together for some time, and again, despite their digital-referential namesake, radiate an organic quality that sounds carefully pieced together in-person. Before even browsing their supposed “influences” on Facebook, artists like Mitski, gobbinjr and the playful folk-pop-punk of Say Anything came to mind. But Smol Data never sound like they’re channeling their influences, moreso graciously nodding to them as they confidently attempt to skirt genre placement altogether.
Beginning with the quick doo-wopper “Jetta II,” Smol Data briskly skirts forward a good 50 years with the driving “Normal Jeans,” which has a screeching, warbly intro that might as well be a direct reference to Mitski’s “Townie.” The whole track recalls Mitski vocally, too, with a dramatic delivery from Karah Goldstein that sounds like she’s physically restraining herself from belting atop blinking synth leads and distorted guitars. There’s both a playfulness and an earnestness to their music, though, that’s more Sidney Gish than a NY contemporary like Frankie Cosmos, indicating that perhaps Smol Data will benefit from (or even be a propulsive force in) the still-developing wave of post-bedroom pop acts.
“Postmadonna” is a vaguely alt-country-ish bop with supple piano licks and accents of reverb, but “Pour Haus,” the first and only single, is the most reminiscent cut to the sonic circle of Max Bemis—with crackly, pedaling drums that even compare to the Say Anything proteges, The Front Bottoms (“Hooped Earrings,” specifically). There’s nothing all that “punky” about Smol Data’s output, so it’s interesting to hear them pull from bands who did verge on pop-punk and flip it around into something different. Closer “Baby’s Last Unwaltz” features bubbly glockenspiel harmonies, an elastic bassline and a big crescendo that peaks with crunchy guitars and a lead lick that almost could be a Jeff Rosenstock riff.
In between all of these brief hints at other artists, though, Smol Data: An EP is just that; a Smol Data project. It’s sometimes good for a group to draw comparisons on their debut, but nothing on here suggests that they’re unable to innovate upon their wealth of inspirations.
It’s one of the most promising artistic introductions of the year, and it’s streaming below ahead of its release this Friday 4/6:
Smol Data: An EP is out 4/6 via Chatterbot Records.
Eli Enis | @eli_enis
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