erasing clouds

The Smittens/The Just Joans, split EP

review by dave heaton

This split single is brilliant because it shows off the talents of two fine indie-pop groups – The Smittens and the Just Joans – not just at writing and playing music, but at understanding and covering each other’s songs. Each band contributes one new song and one cover of the other band’s song. That’s a standard format for a split single, certainly done before, but both bands are especially good at taking someone else’s song and casting it through their own worldview without losing the essence of it. The sadness in Just Joans’ “What Do We Do Now?”, a lament about time going by and friends disappearing, powerfully comes through, within the Smittens’ sadness-under-the-sun vibe. With the various Smittens singing across and with each other beautifully, the song punches a hole in your heart, yet in a different way than the original. The Just Joans do something just as interesting with the Smittens’ song “Gin and Platonic”, making it sound like a song they could have written themselves. The song’s childlike tone melds into more of a late-night drinking thing, yet the tune and the feeling of the song are intact. I’d almost say that in both cases the feelings are heightened. When you hear a song enough times one way, hearing it another way can be eye-opening.


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