The Fine Arts Showcase Dolophine Smile

Just when you think that all the worthy bands from Sweden have already been presented to North America, along come the Fine Arts Showcase. They've been at it for a few years now and have three albums under their belts, including one where they reinvented songs by fellow Swedes, the Rough Bunnies. Dolophine Smile, for better or for worse, is a more polished affair with an air of melancholy that permeates every song, not surprising, considering this is a breakup record. That doesn't mean that the band's love of pop songs has been completely shelved, but there is a lot less jangle and a slightly harder edge and more angst, although it does make for better lyrics, as this kind of thing inevitably does. Just like the relationship that it documents, Dolophine Smile starts off strongly with the driving "Friday on My Knees" and the Byrds influenced "The Teenage Order," but it begins to run out of steam during the middle stages. Things do improve again as things hurtle towards the predictable conclusion, and perhaps that was the plan all along – end on an optimistic, yet knowing note. (Adrian Recordings)