Wayne Death // Independent
Smokes’ sophomore album Wayne Death deals with the struggle between good and evil within oneself. Lyrically the album is an introspective look at becoming a better person. The protagonist has realized he is the vessel for a lich, an undead creature of fantasy that lives forever by latching a portion (or all) of itself onto an unknowing subject. This ugly creature is Wayne Death and he has infected our protagonist and needs to be expelled. Using this concept, the ten songs found on this album deal with becoming self aware of one’s ugly flaws and finding ways to self improve. Musically, Smokes drive the idea home by making their songs both pleasing and disturbing at the same time. The songs are extremely catchy from afar, the kind of music when heard in the background can stay with you for days. Rich melodies and seductive hooks make it an easy listen… until you really listen. Lurking behind the weird pop facade, vicious noise is discovered as the backbone of these songs. Much like the protagonist’s lich, the screeching feedback is only noticed when paying close attention. The ability to sonically mimic the theme of the album is Smokes’ greatest asset. On the surface Wayne Death is a charming post-punk album, but when fully investigated it becomes an art-rock masterpiece.