When an artist goes into writing a new album entirely convinced it will be a hip-hop record, and it comes out the other side as unabashed guitar-driven pop, it gets you thinking about the journey in between.
For Allday, aka Melbourne-based artist Tom Gaynor, it was simply a matter of letting the songs be what they wanted to be — and the influence of Frank Ocean’s seminal record Blonde. Gaynor told Rolling Stone that Blonde‘s dreamlike nature “really affected” him, but don’t go searching for Easter egg similarities on Drinking With My Smoking Friends.
Gaynor’s fourth studio album turns youthful moments into midnight moods of infatuation and ennui: a shared secret plan on Eighties synth mix “Stolen Cars” (a welcome reminder of his Gold-certified breakout single “You Always Know the DJ”), flushed confessions on poetic slow-burner “Bright”, or the knowing bond that envelops you after the honeymoon phase (“Fast Ride”).
Recorded in Australia following a timely visit home from LA — which turned into a relocation — the album’s most striking component is its drifting suburban complexion. Only Allday can sing about green juice, MDMA, Bunnings, and capitalism on album highlight “The Paris End of Collins St” and have it come across equal parts facetious and sincere.
In a world starved of human connection mid-pandemic, where even the simplest comforts are compromised, Drinking With My Smoking Friends reminds us to bathe in our own delicious weariness.
It’s Gaynor’s most unguarded album yet, a landmark of breezy sophistication.
Allday’s Drinking With My Smoking Friends is out now.
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