Seattle rock group Smokey Brights plays straight-ahead rock ’n’ roll, but with a few curve balls in the mix. The band celebrates the release of its second full-length album at Neumos on Friday, Oct. 21.
Ryan Devlin, who fronts the boisterous Seattle rock group Smokey Brights — celebrating the release of its second full-length “Hot Candy” at Neumos on Friday (Oct. 21) — aims to entice listeners with both the familiar and the odd.
It’s a challenge, of course, but it’s one he and his group work on purposefully. At a recent summer festival, for example, the band dropped dozens of beach balls onto the audience. Oddly, the group also named its first record “Taste for Blood,” and the cover of its latest release features a woman in a bathtub filled with gumballs.
“We want everything to have an agreeable, yet bizarre aesthetic,” says the intentionally-sincere Devlin, sitting outside Greenwood’s Monkey Grind, near the office where he works.
The Smokey Brights, Radiation City, Sloucher
8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 21, at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $12 advance (206-709-9467 or neumos.com).
The music is rock ’n’ roll, woven together with catchy guitar solos, confident vocals and thick, steady rhythms — like on the moody “Malibu Must” or monstrous “Ugly Evergreen.” The songs were influenced in part, says Devlin, by Wu-Tang Clan albums, which the band listened to each night after recording.
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Established five years ago, the Smokey Brights started as a recording project for songs Devlin had stashed away while playing in other groups. He and then-girlfriend, singer Kim West (the two are now married), recorded together, and their collaboration blossomed. Today, most of their songs originate from living room hummings and strummings.
“When you get married, every little part of your life becomes more deeply intertwined,” says Devlin. “Our writing is extremely collaborative — there are lots of melodies drifting through the house.”
Those melodies are getting sung better these days, thanks to a vocal coach the couple hired.
“It’s one of the most exposed and educational experiences I’ve ever had,” says Devlin of their lessons. “But Kim and I approach singing like we approach our relationship — we want the best for each other, and we’re honest with each other about it.”
The artistic climate in the Emerald City feels far more diverse and eclectic than it did even just a few years ago — thankfully — but some traditional rockers might feel this change affects them negatively. Devlin embraces it.
“The fact that you don’t get a free pass as a white dude in Ballard with your acoustic guitar anymore is great,” he says. “Over the years, our music has gotten way weirder and psychier — more in the vein of what is our best selves — and I think everyone benefits when they get to be their best selves.”