SMLXL (small medium large x-large) was a band formed in 1998 (ish) and recorded many demos and played a few shows. It was born out of the ashes of somewhat known Sydney indie band Pelican Jed (Jarrod Murphy and Jason de Wilde) and along with Ged Verus on bass and Mike Barwick on drums, they were thought to have a lot of potential with their angular take on melodic/sonic guitar pop. Think XTC meets Split Enz, somewhere around that anyway.
Mike Barwicks untimely and tragic death in a car accident pulled the breaks on what was a very promising song writing team, with Jarrod’s writing steering the ship.
Mikes death saw the boys go off in a few directions, but Jason and Jarrod always knew there was unfinished business for SMLXL. So after collaborating on some music projects they have decided to pull together an album of what they certainly consider to be their most accomplished works to date.
The whole effort is hoped to be completed by the end of 2016. The first cab off the rank is a drifting lush bold song call ‘Change To Survive’.
The tracks on the album see Jarrod and Jason writing, recording and performing most of the instruments and vocals, with some guitar, keyboard and bass tracks laid down by some of their friends and favourite musicians.
Both Jarrod and Jason are heavily influenced by band like XTC, Talking Heads and the Cure, but it’s their shared love of the harmonic pop legends Jellyfish that really solidifies their music common ground. Along with throwing in plenty of Neil Finn and Elvis Costello, the SMLXL sound is a mash of all great melodic guitar driven pop, with the outcome being something slick and unique.
An interesting trait of this project is that Jarrod is based in Queensland and Jason is in New South Wales. The recordings are via correspondence, with Jarrod writing and recording demo versions of the songs using MIDI and live tracking. These demos form the basis of the songs and the tracks are replace, layer by layer with live musicians, both in Jason’s elaborate Sydney studio and Jarrod’s Sunshine Coast home studio. These tracks are passed back and forth between the guys until they get to a point of completion. Then Jason waves some fairy dust over it and out pops SMLXL.
This process has seen some ‘song casualties’ thrown to the way side whilst others have withstood the rigors of the over analysing and fine tuning. This process has allowed for multiple layers within each track offering depth and interest to the astute listener, whilst maintaining the accessible basis of the song in all of its ‘verse / chorus / middle eight’ glory.
It is intended that each song will be released with its own video clip, starting with the first song ‘Change To Survive’ being accompanied by a slow motion wonder through an op shop and the streets of a town.
SMLXL are available through Facebook, Youtube, Bandcamp and their own website so please follow SMLXL and stay in touch for the enjoyment of this great music project.