Smokescreens' Penthouse." /> L.A. Record

SMOKESCREENS: USED TO YESTERDAY

July 11th, 2018 | Album reviews

SMOKESCREENS
Used to Yesterday
Slumberland


Used to Yesterday
, the second album by Smokescreens, unfolds as an animated portrait full of the characters and desires that define a life, and reveals a sound alive with possibility and anticipation. From the first notes of “Someone New,” the shape of the album is evident. An expansive world opens unto you, rendered in the power-pop palette. Used to Yesterday is darker than most pop-informed records, offering a nuanced take on the form that celebrates its cracks and inner connections, and suggesting directions the genre could potentially visit. They’re like the West Coast cousins of Galaxie 500 or even Luna, and yeah, I know, Dean Wareham, but this could be SmokescreensPenthouse—except instead of cold, detached and aloof, Smokescreens are inviting and vibrant, although somewhat reserving an uncertainty beneath. The guitars glisten and waver like stars in the distance, and the songs surge with yearning and mediated doubt. There is exhilaration in sifting through the insights and observations here, like “Steel Blue Skies,” a soundtrack for a drive along the 134/210 corridor, tracing the mountains with each key change and suggesting the contours of a city magnified or erased based on always-changing perspective. With Used to Yesterday, Smokescreens have built a template for possibilities in power-pop.

—Nathan Martel

SMOKESCREENS’ USED TO YESTERDAY IS OUT FRI., JULY 13, ON SLUMBERLAND.