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Wild Smiles: Always Tomorrow

Hampshire garage rockers’ likeable debut.

Wild Smiles, a Winchester trio, supposedly ditched a whole completed album before this first official one, in order to concentrate on their songwriting. It was probably the right decision, as the result is 11 immediate, winningly simple gonzo rock tunes that bristle with small-town attitude and pent-up frustration.

And while they’ve wisely decided that simplicity is the friend of great rock’n’roll, they do have a few strings to their stylistic bow. Girlfriend is a snotty, three-chord Ramonesian romp giving the finger to an ex, before Never Wanted and The Gun recall Nirvana in their bored-but-angry riffing.

The Vaccines’ indie-pop sensibilities can also be glimpsed on Figure It Out, and Wild Smiles channel The Jesus And Mary Chain pretty adeptly on the reverb-drenched Spector-on-downers approach of The Best Four Years.

They may still be working out exactly which of these identities suits them best, but in the meantime, we’ll gladly tag along for the ride./o:p

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock