Media Review: A Light for Attracting Attention

The Smile had a reputation to uphold when they released their debut album, A Light for Attracting Attention, and they did just that. With the inclusion of two members from the iconic ’90s band Radiohead, The Smile delivers a sense of nostalgia and curiosity through their songs. The 13-track album stands out like a piece of abstract art, introducing waves of new sounds.

“Experimental” is a word that’s been used to describe Radiohead in the past, and now translates well to The Smile. Lead singer Thom Yorke’s skill with his unique voice makes any song that he sings instantly recognizable. He understands that a voice can be used as an instrument and that vocals are more than just a way of conveying lyrics. This is demonstrated in the song “The Opposite,” with sounds that layer and bounce off of each other. 

Image courtsey of The Smile

The Smile’s similarity to Radiohead, although initially distracting me from the new content itself, ended up feeling nostalgic. The album was powerful enough to make it feel like I was listening to Radiohead for the first time again. It is similar enough to not feel disconnected, but still provides enough new material to keep me engaged.

The album is most successful with the way it gives me multiple ways to listen to it. The presence of Jazz brings out an interaction of instruments and sounds waves in a musically calculated way. I have layers to sift through while listening, allowing for a surface-level listen or a deeper dive into the individual components of the instrumentals and vocals. The use of an unorthodox combination of instruments lead the album to carve out its own genre.

The Smile brings out a new combination of musical interactions in a successful way, even as it follows an established legacy. Being groundbreakingly new after coming from Radiohead is a nearly impossible task, yet A Light for Attracting Attention delivers a fascinating way to find something different.