Even when the vocals are molasses-sad, the Victory Smokes quake with sass and ebullience. The SnowGhost Sessions EP captures the band’s esprit in just four songs, including “This City Has Teeth” which was on their previous EP. It’s a lonely tune, and this version is a bit more deliberate and mellifluous than the first, though it still maintains an edgy creepiness in all its new wave minor synths, heartbeat drums, and lines like: “All the buildings and teeth in this town, swallow me up, spitting me out.”
In “Sleeptight,” guitarist/frontman Mike Gill croons in gravelly repetition the chorus, “You’re goddamned deadly to me now” under the beatdown of disco drums, and the cool pluck and strum of strings. “Winter Arms” is spunkier—more dirty rock than shoegazer—and the feverish pace is a perfect respite from the slightly bleaker songs sandwiching it.
Though, honestly, the whole album is fairly dark—which is not a criticism. What the Victory Smokes do best is finding that balance between sparkly pop you can dance to and vicious solitude that makes you feel like you’ve been listening to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” in a deserted tower at the end of time.
Victory Smokes play with Headlights and Good Neighbor Policy at the Bandlander, Friday, June 27 at 9 PM. $5.