Kids In Glass Houses, a Welsh quintet, were an unknown, unsigned band, embarking on tours with already established acts such as Lostprophets and 30 Seconds To Mars. It wasn’t until late 2007 when they were finally signed to a record label and could put their demos to good use in the studio. They had already released an EP, E-Pocalypse!, before getting signed, and their debut album featured three of the songs from this EP. One single, which they released prior to the debut album, was Me, Me, Me, which was later re-released as Give Me What I Want, which made the cut on the album. After much anticipation, the album, Smart Casual, was released on May 26th 2008.

The first track on the album, Fisticuffs, is completely self-explanatory. Without sounding too cliché, the song starts the album with a “punch”. It’s a fast-paced, action song, filled with angst and attitude. Easy Tiger follows up, and was released as a single. Understandably so, as it’s a real catchy song, with a “do-do-do” chorus that will imprint in your memory. Previously titled ‘Me, Me, Me‘, Give Me What I Want comes along third on the album. The song’s lead guitar riff is awesome, showcasing the talent that the Welsh five-piece have to offer, with Aled Phillips vocal brilliance adding to the quality. Saturday brings the pace down a little, Phillips sounds like a crooner at the beginning of the song, whether intentional or not, it works. This song is a highlight. Next up, from highlight to possible lowlight, Lovely Bones doesn’t quite do it for me. Its lyrics are fine, the melodies, for me, are a little unimpressive, and the guitar riffs feel a little familiar to me, whether that’s because of similar bands out there or not, I’m not certain. Shameless brings the quality of the album up slightly. It’s an improvement from the previous song, the vocals are more imaginative and better to sing along to, if that’s what you want. Onto probably one of my favourite songs, Girls has a real character to it. The chorus includes a nice falsetto from Phillips and the lyrics are dark and twisty at parts, in a good way. “You put the fun back into the funeral”, for example, suggests the imagination into Kids In Glass Houses lyrical range. Onto a song that almost didn’t make the album, Good Boys Gone Rad. It would have been a real shame if this hadn’t made Smart Casual, as the first words in each verse have a great long note to introduce you to each part of the song. Dance All Night slows down the tempo slightly, with, what’s become almost a signature sound, Phillips’ falsetto range graces our presence once again. The song has a chilled-out feel to it. Pillow Talk, as the song may connote, also has a chilled out feel to it. It’s definitely a song to listen to when you’re in a good mood, possibly making you want to sway a little bit! Now my other favourite song appears late in the album, Raise Hell, which was, I think, the very first song I ever heard by these guys. And, although it’s been re-mixed for the album since it was on their EP, it makes the song even better. It’s definitely a huge sing-along anthem for a live show. With long, soaring notes throughout, it is definitely a crowd pleaser. Finally, Church Tongue rounds off the album, with backing “na-na’s” welcoming you into the song, the song ends the album in style, demonstrating that the guys want to finish how they started, with a bold impression.

Smart Casual started off strong, picked up the pace until around the middle of the album, where it lacked the “oomph” that it had in the beginning. Luckily, the album didn’t peak at the beginning, saving their best, not only for the beginning, but for last too. This is a strong debut from the Welsh boys, earning a respectable 7.5/10 from me.