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Review | “Finding the drama in the small moments” Sorcha Richardson – Smiling Like An Idiot

The Last Mixed Tape reviews Smiling Like An Idiot, the new studio album from Sorcha Richardson.

Photo credit: Molly Keane

There’s something striking about the contrast between the widescreen sounds and internalized lyricism of Smiling Like An Idiot. Sorcha Richardson’s sophomore offering expands the sonically lush scope of her debut, First Prize Bravery, with far-reaching soundscapes whilst maintaining the D.I.Y bedroom pop flourishes of Richardson’s early work. 

Smiling Like An Idiot is an album of melded musical inspirations. The glistening harmonic backdrop of the opening track ‘Archie’ contains moments of alt-country slide guitar before giving way to a swing for the fences anthemic finale. All the while, Richardson’s instantly relatable songwriting conveys a tale of lost teenage dreams and friends. This juxtaposition of large-scale production and small, intimate theming is integral to the record. 

There’s a dynamic edge to Smiling Like An Idiot. ‘Hard To Fake It’ offsets a shimmering tale of late-night love with a sudden growl of distortion that bookends the track. While the lo-fi indie-folk repose of ‘525’ harkens back to the D.I.Y aesthetic of Sorcha Richardson’s early recordings before returning to the lush production of ‘Good Intentions. All of these add a sense of scale to not just the record’s sound but the song’s themes.

‘Shark Eyes’ captures the glistening ambition of Smiling Like An Idiot. Awash with backdrop textures that create a serene harmonic bedrock for Richardson’s songwriting, the track undulates between hushed vocals, soaring synth lines and propulsive beats. This gives the sing-along finale of “My love, you’re the New York dream. We were nothing at all, we were everything” an evocative layer both lyrically and sonically. 

And so it goes, Smiling Like An Idiot finds the drama in the small moments. Each song has a personal story, a lived experience, made alive by the scale and scope of the music. Smiling Like An Idiot is also a mirror for Sorcha Richardson herself, an artist who rose to prominence from lo-fi songs recorded in small spaces to become a songwriter who works on a larger canvas but maintains the same intimacy through storytelling. 


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