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With the Olympics well underway, SMB Project pours forth hard-edged shoegaze with anthemic lyrics designed to stir the inner spirit.  This Orlando based foursome is led by vocalist/guitarist Stephen Belcamino with Angela Boshart on bass, Joshua Kaplan covering guitar and synth, and Nate Gardner on drums.  The band has played several Florida festivals and venues, including a sold out show with The Social and 100 Monkeys.  Upon hearing the 2008 full length debut ‘Pivotal,’ fans across the world willingly funded further SMB Project releases through Kickstarter.  As of July 30th the group presents Part 1 of their sophomore album, ‘Gazing at the World through Binocular Eyes’ with Part 2 anticipated in early 2013.

This five track angst ridden release carries themes of defiance throughout.  The dreamy intro is soon overshadowed by ominous bass and pounding drums.  Belcamino enters with restrained bitterness which soon lets loose into a battle cry:  Now the time has come to overcome.  Boshart’s lulling vocals soften the piece to be less abrasive, more alluring, working well with the call to action.

“Lights & Sounds” follows, writhing over worldly pressures and hypocrisy.  The hard-soft-hard formula allows a moment of reflection amidst the rage.  The listener is invited to follow, though where the pathway leads is a turbulent hard rocking mystery.  Belcamino mentioned in a prior interview that this song speaks of “keeping your identity / uniqueness and not letting society tell you who you are or have to be.” Whether affirming or fatalistic, the chorus proclaims, “You are who you are.”

Blending grungy power pop (think Weezer) with alternating male/female vocals, “Release Me” is as close to encouraging as SMB Project allows on this set of tracks.  Pushing the limits of the human spirit, the lyrics state, “We will reach new heights…we won’t stop now.”

From there, it’s inner turmoil once more with the withering-away-every-day theme of “Incomplete.”  This is topped by the raging finale, “The Show,” a punchy swirl of inevitable endings, nihilistic outlooks, and dark sarcasm.

‘Looking at the World through Binocular Eyes’ portrays an outsider’s separatist view. Heavy guitars back biting vocals as SMB Project struggles with authenticity on levels large and small.

Rating: 3/5


SMB Project CD release show:  House of Blues Orlando, August 10th.
Tickets are available at www.smbproject.com