Saint John songwriter Geoffrey Smith shares eight new songs of love and compassion on Tooth & the Fang’s latest, Cold Dirges of the Baffled/Sullen Hymns of Defeat.
No matter how hard Geoffrey Smith projects his voice above a wash of drums and electric guitars, he still sounds like a kind and gentle soul. Like he’s singing specifically for your comfort, sharing something intimate, something he wrote just for you to hear. And it may seem unexpected at first. Downright confusing for some. After all, Smith, the founder and principal songwriter for Saint John-based group Tooth & the Fang, has been sporting long hair, a long beard, and a trucker cap for years. Since grade school, I’m guessing. He doesn’t look like the kind of performer you would expect to find engaging with an audience via warmth and confidentiality. But much like his hometown of Saint John, first impressions can be deceiving.
For years now Smith has been an integral part of a hometown movement – practically a collective at this stage – that has come to define much of the city’s music scene: an interchangeable web of like minded musicians who support every aspect of each other’s work to the best of their ability. That could mean playing on an album, co-writing a song or three, sharing rehearsal space, creating album artwork, shooting music videos, designing posters, releasing records, you name it. And like each of his previous releases with Tooth & the Fang, Smith gets by with a little help from his friends on his latest Cold Dirges of the Baffled/Sullen Hymns of Defeat. Corey Bonnevie plays drums, keyboards and guitar. He also recorded, mixed and mastered the album and released it through his Monopolized Records. Gavin Downes plays bass and sings on a few songs. Adam Kierstead plays guitars. But it’s Smith’s songs, his lyrics and the wealth of instrumentation he brings to Tooth & the Fang that define this eight song album and each prior release. The way he switches between indie rock anthems, alt-country ballads, and upbeat folk songs is what keeps Smith’s songwriting diverse and exciting. All of it directed straight at your feels, your moods, your heart.
Cold Dirges of the Baffled/Sullen Hymns of Defeat was released Oct. 28 on Monopolized Records.