1) A young man yells about his young man problems: “Man screaming about his soft-ass feelings” is probably one of my three favorite genres (rap is one of the other ones).
The Smith Street Band are by no means the first rock outfit to make their hay confessing loudly, but they wear their influences well. Lyrically, More Scared of You feels like an intersection of the self-critical mania of Bomb the Music Industry! with the poetic lilt of early Rilo Kiley. The subject matter is largely what one might expect; it could charitably be summed up as “struggling to relate to others” and cynically summed up as “struggling to relate to romantic partners,” but the text matters less than the presentation.
2) Brightness: This is a generalization, but when American bands try their hand at this kind of self-defeated, self-deprecating songwriting, the results can often come off dire and sad. More Scared of You is sad, but not a bummer. I’m not sure if its a cultural thing, but the shades of brit-pop scattered through this record give it levity without making it sound overly cute. Squint, a song like “Birthdays” almost sounds like The Wombats.