Smile Ease, an Anchorage, Alaska-based indie rock band was formed by Paul Jacks, Ryan Bohac, and Travis Madden in 2001. The current line-up of Jacks (singer, songwriter, vocals, piano and synth), Marc Bourdon (bass, guitar, synth, and back-up vocals), Nate Foerster (guitars, back-up vocals), and Shane St. Clair (drums) is a decidedly organic amalgam which maintains the influence of past band members and finds inspiration in a diverse group of guest musicians who augment their sound. "We're more of a collective than a definitive group," says Jacks. The band's amorphous line-up brings an intriguing eclecticism to the music. Lush, complex, and romantic melodies are put in clean relief by the straightforward drum work of St. Clair. Bourdon says the songs rely on "an emotional base" with the music crafted around literate and sometimes witty lyrics. Says Rose Wallin of the Anchorage Press: "The songs aren't driven by instrumentality or lyrics alone, but by the way the sounds supplement words so intuitively that all elements become essential. Nothing sounds overblown and the music is so close to seamless it's easier to absorb if you're not listening for a particular riff or turn of phrase... The tracks are complex and absorbing, easy to fixate on and difficult to stop thinking about."
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