This singer/songwriter can say more with a whisper than most folks can with a scream. The gently insinuating despair of Smith's work communicates volumes about the heartbreak and alienation that is the bane of 20th century boys with too much time on their hands. Smith's day job fronting the aggressive post-punk band Heatmiser provides him with the necessary yang to produce the quiet, evocative yin of his solo work.
On Either/Or, Smith observes a production ethic that retains a lo-fi looseness without sacrificing any sonic clarity. His songs of loss and loneliness have the broken-poet aura of Smog or Mark Eitzel, but he offsets the gloom with a hatful of damnably catchy melodies and progressions, turning suffering into pop and making it signify.