Record of the Day: Instant Smile ‘Vanish’

There is a depth to the thought process of an Instant Smile song that is rarely reached in today’s music world. There are multiple layers and provocations of thought, tinged edges of wit and life lessons, and vast arrays of mysterious influences and nods to an assortment of music and literary styles that don’t ordinarily piece together in the normal world. But Instant Smile aren’t normal. And for that, we must praise them.

With perhaps an unwitting knack at keeping their fans on the precipice, on the edge of withdrawal in anticipation of just one more injection of song, these rambling temporary Philadelphians -Greg Phoenix and Erin Berry- are back with a brand new single, ‘Vanish’. And it’s a cracker!

And it was upon reading the ‘Vanish’ press release -prior to listening to the actual song- that I truly understood the name Instant Smile for what it is; for that is what immediately spread across my face while reading this:

“2017 definitely left its mark on many (if not all) of us, and drummer Erin Berry turned to Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations to find some solace navigating newscasts and morning subway commutes. Aurelius makes it sound so reasonable to just let it roll off your back when someone walks straight into you, face in phone. But even while Berry paraphrases him with the lyric “We all vanish anyway” she still can’t resist urging humanity to “open your eyes”. Well, it’s a long road to enlightenment.”

Turning to a second-century Roman emperor for inspiration shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise for Instant Smile fans; this format of deep-thinking is nothing new for this unique duo. 2017’s ‘Spectacular Time’ drew inspiration from Guy Debord’s Marxist philosophy critique, The Society of the Spectacle which criticises contemporary social structures as representative or, “a spectacle”. So they’ve got the intellects covered, but what about the song itself?

As usual with this quirky band, trying to place an inquisitive finger on the nose of a specific musical style is pointless. Don’t bother. You’d be doing the songs a disservice anyway. Just let go. Enjoy. What I will say is this: between the driving chug-a-lug beat, blissful pop hooks, slow, heavy riffage, swirling multi-layered -and beautifully arranged- production, innovative time changes and gorgeous harmonising, you may just find yourself vanishing -if only temporarily- from the bombardment of filth that’s poisoning this society on a twenty-four hour basis. And isn’t that what we are all aspiring to do? Instant Smile shows you how.

YouTube player


Show your support for Instant Smile on Bandcamp
Show some love for Instant Smile on Facebook
Watch Instant Smile in action on their YouTube channel

About author View all posts Author website

Benny Two-Shoes

Filling the void between grouchy dinosaurism and current day hipster snobbery, Benny Two-Shoes is the type of guy who kidnaps control of the stereo at sweet sixteen parties and does not relinquish until every last teenybopper leaves a fully-fledged Stooges fan.   

You can listen to the latest episodes, hosted by Benny Two-Shoes, on Roadkill Radio!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.