Brisbane alt-rock quintet Cedarsmoke have been working around the local music scene since releasing their debut EP False Start To The Rat Race back in 2016. Since then the band has kept busy, releasing their sophomore EP Traffic On Solitude Roadthe following year and Kicked Out Of Edenin 2019. With these, the locals have been honing their craft with better song writing, musicianship and recording quality. This could not be more evident than on their best work to date, Everything Is The Worst, which was set into the wild today. Despite the title, this EP seems their brightest, at least when looking at the instrumental palette used. Over the five tracks, the band uses a variety of instruments from the obvious choices from percussion, keyboards and electric guitars to the more surprising addition of banjo on the stunning EP closer.

The release opens with lead single Pure Heroin, a track that lyrically explores the story of Sid and Nancy, and instrumentally somehow snugly fits influences of punk-rock and synth-pop into an explosive chorus. The tune is filled with sharp lyrics, and piano driven verses that beautifully build into big payoffs. Keep Passing Through The Open Windows inspired by a line in The Hotel New Hampshire, promotes a message of anti-suicide. The instrumentals in the verses are reminiscent of Joy Division’s classic Unknown Pleasures, though the huge chorus’ and closing guitar solo sets the sound apart. The Grim Reaper’s Song combines prominent guitars and piano into an alt-rock banger that could easily fit on Portugal. The Man’s Evil Friends. Lyrically, the track written from the perspective of the figure in the title is another to explore dark themes on the EP, but the band manages to do so in a creative, respectful way. Local Anaesthetic is the most straightforward rock tune of the bunch, but it still manages to stand out among the track list. Throughout the EP, Jon’s lyricism is sharp and immeasurably adds to the already fantastic instrumentals. The bluntly memorable line “50mgs make you lively as a stone” is just one of the many nuggets of gold. The EP closes with another highpoint in Feel Bad Hit Of The Summer, a stunning ballad that combines the band’s signature sound with a surprising but welcome country influence. Here, the quintet once again shows their growth and togetherness where, with this dense arrangement, every member complements each other.

On their fourth EP Everything Is The Worst, Cedarsmoke put forth their best release to date with glorious instrumentation and vivid lyricism in abundance. Everything Is The Worst is out today!


This review is courtesy of Phoenix Radio’s Emerge program, hosted by Calen Le Couteur and Russell Thompson. Follow Emerge and tune in on Monday nights 7-9PM HERE.