24 year old punk poet Wil Wagner and his band of merry men have certainly come a long way since their ‘glory days’, back when they were living upstairs in Fitzroy’s Birmingham Hotel. Wil’s last 10 years of live performances and partying (both internationally and across Australian soil) has not only enabled him to share with the world the experience that is The Smith Street Band, but it has paved way for Wil’s lyrical inspiration on the bands third full length record “Throw Me In The River”. Where you hear melancholic tales of life on the road, lost love, jaded youth, working class life, and his self-medicating lifestyle. But most notably its Wil’s redemption which he has found through his ability to connect with his fans that makes this record such a beautiful piece of work.
This time Wil’s stories are told within settings painted from all over the world. From his lonely nights in Calgary to the snow covered streets and hearts of London. The bands energy accompanied with Wil’s amazing descriptive storytelling paints vivid imagery of common struggles found during life away from home.
The boys remain humble and continue to stay true to their roots and have not lost sight of what it is to be punk. They have often stated that their shows should forever be experienced in sweaty, beer drenched dive bars, a goal that should be applauded for a band of this calibre. There is a sense of intimate nostalgia that many not only find within his words but within the cramped alcohol induced party that is found at every one of their sell out shows. For what was once just a fun part-time gig for these Melbourne legends has now become a full-time job and its clear to see they don’t have any intentions of ever selling out or quitting.
It’s been only two months since “Throw Me In The River” hit the airwaves and frontman Will Wagner has already announced that he has begun working on the first lot of demos for album number four. This is arguably one of the best Australian punk releases of 2014. If you’re not yet a fan of The Smith Street Band they will be back on tour from January through till March. Word to the wise, be sure to get your tickets early because they do have a tendency to sell out quickly.
Stand out tracks include “Something I Can Hold In My Hands” and “I Love Life”.