Simon Wilcox Smart Function

For all the obscure and wonderfully tiny bands that come through Exclaim!, it’s always a bit disconcerting when that hot new mainstream thing shows up for review. The difference between listening experiences is akin to relaxing in that super-plushy couch in store at Leon’s or coming home to your duct-taped paisley couch/bed/dining room. Both get the job done, but one lacks the charm that the other oozes. Smart Function is not a totally soulless, hollow affair, as there is enough sultry, silky singing and major chord guitars to more than tingle that mainstream bone that everyone has, but is afraid to admit. First single, "Right Ride” envisions dressing up for a night of no-good fun, while "Mommies & Daddies” grabs with a catchy chorus. Last track, "Got You Home” diverges from the earlier proceedings and goes for more atmosphere than sheen, but Wilcox gets scarily close to Fiona Apple, which is either a good thing or bad thing. Wilcox may make some fans out of first-year university students, but this has the potential to be others’ guilty pleasure. To return to the opening analogy: you may love that old couch, but in your weakest moments, don’t you wish for a new one? (BMG)