Every so often you end up with a friend's bands demo in your hands and most of the time, let's be fair, you are just at the shows and buying the demos and merch to help support your friends. Most of the time you have to admit that there is a hint of jealousy at the fact that it's them, and not you, on the stage.
Smudged not only make me jealous because they are my friends, but also because they are so damn fucking good. The live shows are something to behold and they are able to captivate the audience with ease. The come across as almost a jam band with a multitude of different instruments and a stage presence that makes you feel that at a nod of a head they could go almost anywhere mid song and still never miss a beat between them. It's a shame that Demo 2005 just doesn't have that grab to it.
You can tell from the first note of opener "Final Destination" that this band is good, the whole thing reeks of talent and skill, the acoustic sound of Ben and Eddie's guitars is great and what they play is somewhat hypnotic and you just find yourself nodding along. Katy and Eddie's vocals sound great and often soar with power and grace. However you soon find yourself wishing that the music had the presence and feel of the live counterpart.
"Catalyst" is much the same; a brilliant piece of music with the addition of an entrancing flute riff that appears throughout the song. The great bass line and use of a saxophone, like before, are all there, but it lacks the emotion you expect from music like this.
I think what makes this CD so disappointing is that once you get to listen to the band you notice that they have already left it behind in their performance, the new songs and the fact that the band seem to get better with every passing moment and so sadly I don't feel that they will ever be able to live up to their live shows on record unless they find a way of capturing the raw energy of it somehow. In fact I'm sure by the time you have read this the band will have already outstripped their last performance and made this record even more redundant.
Smudged are a great band and I know they will do well for themselves; they have the talent and songs to go as far as they want, and it's just a shame that they are unable to show it fully on this demo.
6.5 / 10
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