Los Angeles' Smokescreens specialise in a moody pop that wouldn't sound out of place on the Slumberland records catalogue in 1991 or Flying Nun around 1986. You could call it twee, but their new song "Out of Time" also features a rumbling bass solo. This is pop music that is toothsome and robust.
Featuring Corey Cunnigham of Terry Malts and Business of Dreams on bass, and Chris Rosi from San Diego's Plateaus on guitar, their new self-titled album, to be released on the Terry Malts curated label Parked in Hell, buzzes with hooks and the type of jangly melodies found on The Bodines or other acts on the legendary C86 compilation.
"It was recorded in a tiny, old dairy factory by Jon Greene who filled in on drums because we were a two-piece at the time (we often practiced and wrote with a drum machine)," explains Cunningham. "Sadly, Jon passed away in November. I know he was really proud of this recording and I'm glad it will be out there for people to hear. He was a great drummer and engineer."
"We wanted to make something that sounded like a New Zealand band from the early 80s. So we wrote the songs with that in mind and recorded in mono on an 8-track tape machine. I think we pulled it off. I'm fooled for the first few seconds before I remember it's our band.
Since the recording the band have expanded to a four-piece with Cunningham sliding over to guitar to make room for Brice Bradley on drums and Jenny Moffett on bass.
Smokescreens' self-titled debut album is available Feb 2 on Parked In Hell.
Image: Gina Clyne