While many bands run from the old-fashioned label of "rock 'n' roll, Sfumato, formerly Black Tooth Grin, are quite happy to call that description their own. While the band has spent the better part of eight years as a cover band, Starve the Trend is their first release, celebrating their transition to sets of original music.
Long a favorite on the Extreme Essentials collections, this album contains those songs and many more which have caused a ruckus both locally and nationally. The opening track, "Low Down" was the song Sfumato played on the Jenny Jones Show last March. The song is a great example of the abilities of this band with a driving rock beat, catchy pop melodies, and a subtle groove that moves even the stodgiest foot to tapping. From the Extreme Essentials 5 disc is "HolzInWood". Ear-catching vocal harmonies and a memorable melody backed with tight playing have ensured lots of airplay of this song on the local station. Further proof of their wide spread appeal can be found in the stellar blues-rock of "Stage Freaks" which was ranked in the top 10 of www.collegemusic.com for an entire year. Other tasty treats include "Canvas of Sight" with hypnotic vocals and ringing guitars and the rich, layered folk vocal harmonies of "The Reason" that break into a gutsy modern guitar-propelled experience.
A true work in motion, Sfumato recorded this excellent album at Soundmill Studios and then moved to Indy. In tandem with this move is a change in some members of the band but for the CD release parties May 31 (an all-ages show at 9 p.m. at The Basement and a big-kids show around midnight at Sneaky Pete's) the original band members will be present and rockin' their hometown hearts out. Be sure to stop by, pick up this excellent collection of great modern rock songs and wish the band ell as they sail larger seas. More album information, song lyrics, and show dates can be found at www.sfumatoband.com.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, June 2002.