We Are Smug
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Audio CD, Import, April 23, 2013
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The "secret" side project of singer/songwriter Darren Hayes (Savage Garden) and producer Robert Conley (KISS, Destiny's Child, Ricky Martin) is a strange "Prince meets Disco" collection of superb pop-electronica that has been a cult favorite with fans since 2009.
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First off I would try and steer clear from a copy as its a CD-R copy and not from the actual company. They claim its an attempt to save the planet and save on storage but Im still a bit leary on that. So I went ahead and forked over the $8.99 mp3 from Amazon which in all honesty I dont like as Im still oldschool and like the "real deal" in my hand. For whatever reasons Darren's CD releases dont come to the US and in order to get a real copy you will have to either get it from his own website or from the UK and usually at steep prices.
Overall, I liked We Are Smug and took it as an experiment in technique, styles and sounds that Darren was playing with rather than a actual Darren release. Also keep in mind that nothing here is actually brand new and most of it stems from The Tension And The Spark album time as well as Delicate as alot of the music sounds similar. A few stand outs for me are "Good Dress", "Riot", and "Fire It Up". Just take the album as it is and just enjoy the few stand outs of Darren's experimentation of sound.
Darren Hayes does have some very interesting tracks and if you are a diehard DH fan, you will hang in there and they will grow on you. If you are just getting into Darren or are used to Savage Garden, do not pass go, go straight to "This Delicate Thing We've Made" and then come back to this after about 6 months. Don't start here, you will miss everything he's grown to do well and it will throw you.
This is the first every negative review I've ever done but it's just seriously disappointing - I can see why Darren Hayes gave this album away at one point; it doesn't remotely give him the platform to show what he does best.
If you don't know what We Are Smug is, then congrats on stumbling onto this little-known gem of an album.
It's uneven in parts, but there's more than one occasion of brilliance here. I would rate this above his Spin album, maybe even above (dare I say it?) most of his Savage Garden work, but if you haven't heard Tension & The Spark, This Delicate Thing We've Made, or Secret Codes & Battleships, I'd definitely start there.
This is the quirky side of Darren most famously heard in "Me, Myself, and I." If you dug that, then you'll definitely dig this. If you like good, fun electronic music, you'll definitely dig this.
So glad it's finally available, and with a bonus song, too!