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Crayonsmith @ The Gadfly w/ Nire

La Grande, Oregon, USA

La Grande, Oregon, USA

Crayonsmith @ Valentine's w/ Star Fucker

Portland, Oregon, USA

Portland, Oregon, USA

Crayonsmith @ Roisin Dubh

Galway, Not Applicable, Ireland

Galway, Not Applicable, Ireland

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" Stay Loose is a totally seductive and focused pop record that you can completely lose yourself in ... filthy rich in harmonies, melodies and originality ... filled with moments of warm and fuzzy joy that Brian Wilson himself would be proud to have inspired. Summer's here kids!" - Alan Jacques


Crayonsmith's 2006 debut album Stay Loose was pretty much an all-Ciaran Smith affair. White Wonder's strength lies partly in the fact that it is a more collaborative effort, with Ronan Jackson and Ruadhan O'Meara playing more than backing band to Smith's nascent genius. The reverse evolution from the vintage synths of the opening instrumental to the guitar and autoharp gentility of the closing track is proof of the trio's confidence. Beat production by Deep Burial's George Brennan is telling on many tracks, as programmed beats and live drums form a backdrop to some wonderful story-telling, such as on the infectious disco riff, Silver Lining. The future's very bright.
www. myspace. com/crayonsmith



As his chosen moniker might imply, Dubliner Ciaran Smith's DIY debut album Stay Loose was the aural equivalent of a particularly gifted child's early artwork: conceptually ambitious, overtly colourful, lovably smudged, but still very impressive to many beyond the confines of his immediate family.

White Wonder sees the more experienced Smith progressing logically to oil paintings, without being bullied by convention into colouring within the lines of compromising an iota of his fresh, wide-eyed creativity. With bandmates Ruadhan O'Meara and Ronan Jackson providing a formidable back-up, Smith experiments with bigger beats, samples and rhythms, which, layered and occasionally messy as they are, never entirely smother the intricacies of his melodies.

From the fantastic, bombastic single ' Lost In The Forest, through the pounding menace of 'Bad Days Move On', to the chiming lullaby of 'We Sleep', it's an accomplished gallery of experimental arrangements, challenging structures and, as the gorgeous chord changes on 'All The Elders' and '16 Going On 63' show, a connoisseur's love of sublime pop.

Crayonsmith are shining knights in Ireland's pop armour, with the style, talent and scope to perfect their art and one day produce a master-piece. For now, this is quite, white wonderful enough.~Johnnie Craig - STATE MAGAZINE

4/5 stars

Unassumingly Epic Indie
With this record Ciaran Smith (along with Ruadhan O Meara and Ronan Jackson) bursts from the 'nice boy with a bedroom studio' label, to the full-blown crazy-as-a-bastard, epic-pop mastermind category. I knew all those bedroom geeks would eventually up the standard of Irish record production. And with White Wonder's understated vocals, detailed and swirling arrangements, and general vibe of well-being, Ciaran Smith and co. have managed to create something warm, inviting and altogether bloody good. It blends indie-pop quirkery (like Flaming Lips or Grandaddy) with electronic gimmickry (like Autamata or Beyonce) and still manages to sound completely organic. In fact songs like 'Lost In The Forest' and 'Anxious' should really be indie classics. Maybe they will...

In fact it's all so good it inspires me to get carried away with meaningless journalistic metaphors (which he can if he wishes quote on press releases!). Ahem. White Wonder is the sound of shoegazing music being bet to death by Phil Spector after a bout of lovemaking in a backstreet sauna. Or White Wonder is the sound of a robotic stag and a saddened unicorn fighting a Korg MS20 in the night sky while a baby laughs and nuns weep for us all. Or... White Wonder is the exact opposite of Hitler.

Another spectacular point about all this is that when the epic arrangements are overlaid with Smith's unassumingly unflashy vocal style, it can be a strange correlation. Sometimes his voice is so understated it's like he doesn't know his album is this good. But that can't be right. White Wonder is very, very good indeed, and judging by the Mike Ahern-designed cover, which features Ciaran in a Roman army helmet, waving a sword and surrounded by swans, on some level Mr. Crayonsmith knows that. Good on him.

Patrick Freyne - HOT PRESS

Once upon a time, there was a young man from Dublin called Ciaran Smith. Having spent most of his childhood attempting to forge songs from primitive beginnings, Ciaran eventually gathered two of his pals and recorded the Irish bedroom band soundtrack to 2006, Stay Loose. It was a lo-fi, DIY indie-pop album, ramshackle in places, yet charming because of - not in spite of - its imperfections. Even so, it was clear that Smith still had a way to go before he'd find symmetry in his songwriting - a quality that made his songs appeal to more than just those willing to seek out under-the-radar Irish music.

Fast-forward two short years later to album 2, and it's remarkable to discover that Smith's songcraft, technique and musical discernment has evolved not only dramatically, but apparently naturally - and that he's managed to distil his overwhelming imagination into an album that has something for everyone. White Wonder is a glorious explosion of programmed beats, synths and samples that grab you by the shoulders and sweep you onto the dancefloor of your favourite indie club.

Crayonsmith strike a near-perfect balance between the rickety indie charm of Stay Loose and dynamic, beat-heavy innovation here, with both styles working comfortably side-by-side, and occasionally concurrently. The Grandaddy-esque All the Elders, for example, embodies a frantically-played flurry of bloops and guitar over several simple-but-effective key changes; Anything sees a chugging Weezer-style axe-buzz transformed by a glitchy, dreamy melody and Silver Lining's bombastic, zany bounce is just terrific, unadulterated fun.

White Wonder's gold star is easily reserved for the dynamic, exciting and simply bloody brilliant lead single Lost in the Forest, though - a understated synth-led pop song with a chorus so euphoric, it'll raise a mountain range of goosebumps. This is the sort of music that makes you proud of the flourishing Irish independent scene, chuffed by how far it's come, and excited about what it's yet to bring. Wonderful stuff.

Review by Lauren Murphy -


'White Wonder' Album (2008)
'Stay Loose' Album (2006)
Christmas split single w/ Windings (2004)
'You Get Down Here' EP (2004)



Having played in various musical projects from a young age, in early 2004 Ciaran Smith began playing his own 4-track recorded songs live under the name ‘Crayonsmith’. Soon after, he asked close friends and local musicians Ronan Jackson and Ruadhan O' Meara to jump on board. With them, they brought bass, synthesizers, samplers, autoharp and live percussion/drums to the mix resulting in a fuller band sound.

After touring the songs for 2 years, in 2006 Crayonsmith self-released the lo-fi debut album, Stay Loose, featuring superb artwork by Mike Ahern of D.A.D.D.Y. to critical acclaim. Apart from small musical contributions from Ronan and Ruadhan (and some drums by ‘Goodtime’ John Cowhie), the album was primarily written and produced by Ciarán himself (with mixing help from Northstation’s Steve Fanagan) during 2005.

On hearing Stay Loose, American indie icon Mark Linkous personally asked Crayonsmith to open for his band Sparklehorse for 14 dates on their UK/Irish tour in October 2006. The album also secured Crayonsmith support slots with international acts like Quasi, Islands, Robin Guthrie (ex- Cocteau Twins), Juana Molina and Charlotte Hatherley (ex- Ash), as well as gigs with Irish bands such as The Chalets, Jape, The Redneck Manifesto and Giveamanakick.

In February '07, Crayonsmith signed with long time friends Out On A Limb Records (who had previously released albums by givemanakick and Waiting Room) based on a mutual respect for each others work and ethos. Directly following this signing, Ciaran did a solo Crayonsmith tour of the US West Coast and Canada playing with likes of Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), Casiotone For The Painfully Alone and Mt. Eerie.

On Ciaran’s return, the band reconvened and began work on the second album under the working title, White Wonder. This was to prove to be a more collaborative effort than its predecessor Stay Loose. Influenced by the US indie label Anticon, the band decided to compose their songs by combining sampled drums and sounds with live instrumentation. Crayonsmith enlisted the help of George Brennan (from dark instrumental hip-hop act Deep Burial) to help with beat production on the new songs. The finished beats were then taken to Experimental Audio Studio where Steve Shannon (of the electronic act Halfset) recorded all the instrumentation between July and November 2007. Between breaks in recording, Crayonsmith continued to tour Ireland and the UK, playing with some of their favourite bands including Caribou, Meneguar, Danielson Famile, Dan Deacon, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Loney Dear and Monade.

White Wonder was released on April 4th on Out On A Limb records with another fascinating artwork job by Mike Ahern. The album features catchy punchy songs made up of sampled beats and drum machines combined with live drums, duelling vocals and vintage synthesizers, guitars, bass, autoharp, toy piano, percussion, classic harmonies, found sounds/samplers and headphone interplay. After a headline album release tour, Crayonsmith played some Irish shows with Why?, Yeasayer and The Mae Shi before setting out on a 14 date US tour with Islands in June from which they have just returned.