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A chat with rising Melbourne fuzz-rockers The Vacant Smiles

Off the back of their new album, Goodwill.

When did The Vacant Smiles first come together and how did it happen?

We’re actually coming up to ten years of the band, which might make our boring high school story vaguely interesting. Apparently I was reading The Idiots Guide To Starting A Band in our library class, Francis noticed over a copy of Guitar World, and Shay was conned into dropping his guitar lessons and taking up the bass. 

Tell us about your new album Goodwill.

For the last year and a half, we’ve been working on what was supposed to be our third album to be released before 2018 ended, and even though it was nearly done, it got to October and we decided it deserved a little more time to get right. But we wanted to stick to our word. So we decided to write, record and release a whole new album in about a month and a half – and the result was Goodwill. It’s pretty raw, wonky and a bit more chaotic than anything we’ve done before, but it might be our best album yet.

How would you describe your sound and how did you come to it?

I’d just say garage rock, although rock ‘n’ roll if I’m talking to an auntie or something. I’m not sure how the sound came about, but recently someone told me my voice reminds them of Lockie Leonard, and I can’t really imagine Lockie Leonard playing any other style of music, so maybe it was destiny.

What can we expect from your upcoming shows?

I’m getting pretty into guitar solos so you can expect some of those. I kinda just want to play as much from Goodwill as we can for a hot second, until it’s time to put out the next album in a few months.

The Vacant Smiles will support The Higgs at their album launch at The Toff on Friday February 8, and support Department at The Espy on Thursday March 7. Head to the band’s Facebook for more information.