Guess who released (well, if you can call it that – it was given out as free mp3s) a brand new album today without his fans having a clue it was going to happen? Only super-ace popstar Darren Hayes!!!! A new Darren album is always a big event in my life, one I count down to and pray will live up to my high expectations, so imagine my shock and delight when I went online this morning to find Twitter abuzz with the news of a new album which had appeared as if by magic! News of a new album would be exciting enough, but to have it instantly and for free was amazing. The album isn’t under Darren’s name, but a side-project called We Are Smug which consists of Darren and regular collaborator, Robert Conley.
So far I have only listened once, but I’m extremely impressed. It’s another album with an electronic focus, but it’s lighter and poppier than his past two albums. However, I wouldn’t say it was similar to Spin or the Savage Garden albums. This is a new sound, but not one which will upset existing fans, although that would be difficult for Darren considering the wide variety of pop sounds his past releases cover. Darren sings on all the songs but doesn’t always take the lead, with at least one other vocalist involved. I’m not sure if the other male singer is Robert, and would love to find out, if anyone reading this knows. I don’t have time to research it at the moment so I’ll have to look to my all-knowing readers for extra info.
I’m not sure if the aim with this album is commercial success or just a but of fun, but I think it is probably the latter, although of course I’m sure they wouldn’t mind getting some attention for it. The fact that they’re giving it away for free, and that Darren has recently mentioned having been very productive in the studio lately suggests that it was quite a spontaneous decision to share some new music with fans between proper Darren albums. There is a great selection of songs here, but I don’t think any could work particularly well as singles. None of the songs are likely to make it into my top 10 or even top 20 Darren songs, but I’m happy to have them nonetheless and will enjoy getting to know all the new songs individually over the coming weeks.
If someone heard We Are Smug without knowing it was Darren, I don’t think they’d be heralding the duo as the next big thing, but the anonymity will probably earn them a few new fans. I doubt many who don’t already know of Darren will listen to it, though, so it’s not really a big factor. This is simply a lovely, fun treat for Darren’s dedicated fans, a chance for him to try out new sounds and a chance for Robert to be recognised as part of a band rather than an unnoticed guy in the background. If you’re interested in downloading the album, go to www.wearesmug.com, and if you want to try before you don’t buy, here’s their MySpace where all 10 tracks are streaming.