Although a lot of This Is Me Smiling's self-titled album is about miscommunication, their musical vocabulary is a little too shaky to top the charts. It's not just the transitions between songs (like the harsh cut-off of "Ephemera" biting into the sweet summer of "Feelin' the Time Pass By"), but the transitions within songs themselves; these are tracks that can't settle for a single sound. The instrumentals that strum to nowhere and the interruptive techno sections (the accurately titled "Up In All Directions") disguise how lost the album is. It's an aggressively coy blend of tunes tethered together with poor lyrics, but certain tracks, like "Mixing up Adjectives," manage to speed through the weaknesses, and some pieces, like the folk duet "Say What You're Gonna Say," are transcendentally beautiful. Dan Duszynski and Sheldon Miller have wonderful voices (and can both play the guitar and keyboard), and when they don't drown themselves out ("For When You Don't Hear It Right"), they'll do just fine. Until then, they're stuck being the awkward, attractive little flaws they sing about in their perfect closing, "Alive in the Chase."
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