Music Addict (Review): Kieren Smith opts for a different sound on first solo EP
PWNZ Like: Ben Jorgensen, My Favorite Highway, We Shot the Moon
After the Minneapolis, MN pop punk band Sing It Loud called it quits last fall, former guitarist/backing vocalist Kieren Smith, like many other of the band’s former members, decided to continue pursuing a career in music. But Smith had a plan—to stray away from SIL’s pop sound and go for a more raw alternative sound.
Inspired by bands like Weezer and Goo Goo Dolls, Smith independently recorded The Better Life EP with producer Jordan Schmidt (All Time Low, the Morning Light), which was released last November.
The Better Life is Smith at his best. The EP captures the heartfelt honesty and openness of Smith’s lyrics. Though it is a softer sound than what Smith produced in the past with SIL, The Better Life has an obvious resemblance to the band’s last record. Smith’s voice is soothing and angelic, similar to that of Ben Jorgensen.
“Hold On” has a faster beat than all of the other songs on the EP. It is young and exuberant as a love-stricken Smith embraces his relationship and his place in the world. Smith seems optimistic and powerful, ready to take on the world and its challenges. It’s an inspiring and refreshing track, with a unique outlook towards the future comparable to We Shot the Moon.
The track “Up To Me” is liberating and uplifting as Smith tries to re-discover himself by reevaluating his life and his beliefs. He decides to live his life for himself and not everyone else, because ultimately, it is up to him to decide who he wants to be. “Up To Me” is the most upbeat and inspirational song off The Better Life.
“I’ll keep moving on/
Despite what they’re saying/
Never liked them anyway/
If it was up to me/
I would spend my day, every day/
Making love and being free,” Smith sings.
Overall The Better Life is definitely an album worth listening to. It is a fulfilling and exceptional album. The work and dedication Smith put into the EP is apparent—and this is just his first release.
Catch Kieren Smith on tour with Jamestown Story in February:
Stream The Better Life for free: