The Smittens - Gentlefication Now!

When was the last time politics shook itself into a cheery dance party? Even if partially hamstrung by the musical confines of Indiepop, The Smittens have got a unique enough set of beliefs and ideals to make them promising enough to watch out for.

The most engaging thing about this Vermont quintet is their "Gentlefication" manifesto sketched out in their liner notes as well as on their website. Gentlefication basically boils down to the belief that kindness and open-heartedness is infectious, and can help make the world a better place. Put in their own words, "being nice is a political act." It almost seems like the subject of a speech you would cringe to hear at a high school or college graduation, yet The Smittens are intelligent enough to realize that "being nice" is not something that requires you to sermonize or to secularize. Niceness has to start on a micro level with yourself, your family, and community in order to have any hope of reaching the macro level: the rest of the world. The band has taken to playing as many benefits as possible, include shows to support battered women's shelters, rape crisis organizations, lesbian and gay communities, and AIDS education agencies. There is definitely something more honest about this freewheeling brand of politics then the way current politicians tend to paint immaculate, caring pictures of themselves in order to sell their campaign and further a political career.