Smith started out in the punk band Heatmeiser and began releasing solo records in the early Nineties. The best of his work, records like “Either/Or,” and “XO,” are noted for his emotionally intense and melancholic lyrics, extraordinary Beatle-esque musical arrangements and soft acoustic ambience.
Released this past October, almost a year to the day Smith died, From A Basement On The Hill, is a bittersweet reminder of Smith’s incredible talent. Conceived as a double album, From A Basement On The Hill, was paired down to fifteen breathtaking songs by Smith’s friends - producer Rob Schnapf and musician Joanna Bolme. As his own personal life goes, like many of previous records, Basement is drenched in sadness. Certainly, Smith’s gloom-as-aesthete has been critically romanticized in light of his death, however, one can’t help but listen to the album’s lyrics with his death as context for such a powerful record.
Written by Bruce Warren
Release Date: 10/19/2004
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