"When I close my eyes, I see cartoons playing in the darkness of my mind, so I usually write about those."*

The Smiles and Frowns have been enjoying favorable and apt comparisons to such psych-folk architects as Syd Barrett and White Album era Beatles in the year or so since the release of their debut self-titled album.  The Phoenix, AZ duo themselves describe their sound as:

…a bit of a mix.  There are haunted train ride songs, and children’s theme music songs, psychedelic science fiction songs etc. I guess it’s mostly just a collection of experiments in sound, patterns, and melodies. (The Urbanian, 3/9/2009)

Whatever it is, I’m liking it and so is UK label, akoustik anarkhy, who are giving The Smiles and Frowns an official re-release this month.  The 25 minute long mini-album ranges in tone from a playful and aloof track about a bird named Sam to a creepy, instrumental waltz titled “March of the Phantom Faces.”   It’s tough to pick a favorite, in part because the 8 tracks, as distinct from each other as they are, hang together so well.  But here’s one of the more playful tracks, about a boy named Cornelius who sits up in a tree all day, talking to animals through the use of a magical flute.

The Smiles and Frowns, “Cornelius”

You can preview more tracks from their myspace page or purchase and download the mp3 version of the album from Amazon.

PS I doubt I’m the only person for whom “Cornelius” recalls this:

Is it just me or is children’s television programming so much less frightening nowadays?

*Adam Mattson, one half of The Smiles and Frowns, quoted in a recent Guardian review

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