The Symbols – Smile

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4 stars out of 5

There is little else to say about Smile besides “groovy.” Mer Sal takes center stage as bassist/songwriter/vocalist, flaunting pure and justified confidence in The Symbols’ first full-length album. She sings with power at times, funk at others, but always in full-force, with Jasco and Ika Pekelo maintaining a solid, bluesy backing throughout. The message is positive and clear (as the title suggests), though the influences of The Symbols seem across the board, from the unmistakable mark of blues and R&B to the more subtle Latin rhythms, reggae and jazz. The undisputed talent of Jasco on guitar could have been highlighted perhaps only a small amount more, as his quiet acoustic ramblings add exponentially to any sound he accompanies. With such a strong debut album, it can only be hoped for that The Symbols carry on with their musical adventure.