All Smiles is Jim Fairchild’s solo project and Ten Readings of A Warning his first solo outing since his days in the band Grandaddy.
This album was almost entirely created on an 8-track, recorded for no money in living rooms up and down the West Coast and mixed by Brian Deck (Iron and Wine, Modest Mouse). Surrounding himself with talented musicians such as Janet Weiss (Sleater Kinney, Quasi), Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, Black Heart Procession), Danny Seim (Menomena), and Solon Bixler (Great Northern), Jim Fairchild has put together a very delicate and inspired album with airy passages and lighthearted songwriting. His vocals may not be striking, but it sounds warm, honest, intimate and beautifully melancholic sometimes. Can we call that Lo-Fi Folk Pop kind of music, or a ‘70s-feeling melodic pop trip? I don’t know, and personally, I don’t really care. Just by hearing the beautiful “Of Course It’s Not Up To Me” or the perfect orchestration of “Leave Love” should be enough to convince anyone to go and get this album.
Simple melody, acoustic guitar, piano chords and Jim Fairchild’s floating vocals are what this album is about. And if you’ve just broke up with your girlfriend, the melancholia of Ten Readings of a Warning might certainly be the appropriate summer soundtrack to think things over, or maybe just to rub it in. In a nutshell, All Smiles isn’t going to blow you away, but it can move you on a certain level, and that’s more than enough to appreciate the album.