Stay At Home And Die - 'Smudge' Single Review

Updated: Jan 15

With a name like ‘Stay at Home and Die’, you might be expecting something harsh and in your face from the Birmingham-based band. However, their debut single, Smudge, may not be what you'd expect. Through vocalist Ellie Ashford's lyrics, the band offers a heartfelt and introspective look at relationships, loneliness and mental health.

The band based in Birmingham and the West Midlands have released a short burst of melancholic alternative pop that is almost over before it begins. The song mixes together influences ranging from alternative rock, midwestern emo and pop punk, with the melody and vocal styling being wholly reminiscent of Heather Gracie of Pale Waves and Hayley Williams of Paramore respectively.

The bands imagery and aesthetic sits interestingly between the lines of modern rock and pop punk with the single’s artwork reminiscent of mid 2010’s bleak and melancholic emo revival - setting out the band’s emotive feeling and influence.

The song itself falls just short of the 1:45 mark, ending in a post-hardcore style breakdown that feels possibly drawn-out given the song's short run time but I can understand the influence and intention. However, the short running time of the track is not a disservice to the promise the band has shown in the form of a dynamic and soaring chorus that is carried throughout almost the whole of the song. It certainly isn’t a song you can forget.

As part of a wider project - for instance in the context of an EP or album, or subsequent releases - the song could feel right at home in an environment that further explored the moody and dynamic ranges displayed by the band. This could provide a stepping off point for another attention grabbing single such as Smudge.

Smudge is available to listen to on all major platforms.

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