Driving home one night over the weekend, I had an overwhelming urge once I’d hit the highway to just keep driving west until I either landed somewhere exciting or ran out of gas. Instead, I sensibly just drove myself home but that feeling hung around, kicking me for not choosing the more adventurous road.
Cue the soaring, crashing notes of Montreal’s Smileswithteeth, the dreamy pop portmanteau of Gabriel Gutierrez, Kyle Hutchins and Lillian King. The songs, written by Los Angeles native Gutierrez, combine a difficult time in Paris with the rejuvenating feeling of finding a home in Montreal. It’s a clash of loneliness and adventure—energy that gets your feet from one end of a city to another, and the desperate silence that drives you outdoors in the first place.
Tinged by Gutierrez’ newfound home in Montreal, Walk Forever is packed with a lot more of that positive energy, bouncing along and purely instrumental except for opener “Wednesday.” But “Mustard,” one of the longest tracks on the five-song EP, encapsulates some of that journey from isolation to celebration as the layers add on. A simple beat picks up a charming back-and-forth of notes while the occasional, raucous shout lends its own exuberance to the journey.
The natural sounding rattling in the final moments of “Person Sound” pick up on that street walking vibe as a pulse-rate swarms in and drives the race into the exhilarating “Now It’s Thunders.” As the sounds spring off each other, falling and building, the closing crash of vocal samples and whirring, twisting notes perfectly convey that feeling of coming home—the long minutes of waiting near the end, the race to get as close as possible, as soon as possible, and the euphoria of finally making it.
Walk Forever could simply be described as uplifting, dreamy pop—almost an escape in an escape. But it just so happens that if you’re craving adventure and for whatever reason can’t drive off into the night just yet, it also makes for a pretty fulfilling alternative.
Top tracks: “Wednesday”; “Mustard”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)