New album: Crossword Smiles || Pressed & Ironed

Pressed & Ironed may be the debut full length of Crossword Smiles, but its two members are guitar pop veterans. I’m referring to Tom Curless (Your Gracious Host) and Chip Saam (The Hangabouts and host of the Indie Pop Takeout radioshow). It should therefore come as no surprise that Pressed & Ironed sounds accomplished and mature, and is full of quality guitar driven power pop.

Curless and Saam cover a lot of bases on the record, and a lot of these songs seem to have their origins in ’80s college radio. I am partial to the rockers on the record (Feet On The Ground, Lotus, Take It On The Chin), but Crossword Smiles manage to evoke a lot of different influences. From Shoes and the dB’s to Steely Dan, from R.E.M. to Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello.

I do find myself skipping three of the songs (October Leaves, Walk Softly and Second Guesser), which I guess is a logical consequence of the broad scope of the record and my lack of tolerance of slower and softer material. But overall, there is no shortage of underground radio hits on this one – my current favs below. Out now on CD and LP through Big Stir Records, who ICYMI also released a(nother) fine Nick Frater record recently.

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