The latest album from Smileswithteeth (Gabriel Gutierrez) represents a new breed of positive, sample-based hip-hop. This sub-genre (which includes Snuise, Zebrat, bmbu, Fold, Department and nahsolo, among others) is sunny, upbeat, and in most of the world, just in time for summer. This is music to cruise to and groove to. According to Gutierrez, Everyday Always is purposefully “designed to lift the spirits” and is “about being nice to people as much as making music.” This attitude radiates peacefulness and permeates every minute of the album.
Everyday Always is soothing in the manner of Cinchel and Lullatone, two very different acts who share a love of the everyday. By noticing life’s little moments, these three artists celebrate the small, joyful facets of life, transforming the mundane into the sacred. “You As You” loops the word, “intangibles”, implying that life includes even more than what we see. Tiny moments like these are embedded throughout the album – teenaged conversation in “Allspice”, bells and water in “Scrunchie”, a kind voiceover in the opening and closing cuts. The album’s message may be subtle, but it’s not subliminal: life is finite, joy is meant to be embraced.
Musically, the drums rest in the mid-tempo range, head-nodding more than hard dancing. The sole exception is the opening track, “Everyday” which borders on IDM and is one of the standout cuts. Ambient textures are incorporated, but not dominant. The oomph is provided by the diverse samples, as well as occasional bass and piano. While sketches of a story may be gleaned, Everyday Always is more interested in sharing a mood, and its positive energy is contagious. There may be no name for this specific brand of hip-hop, but the more we hear, the better adjusted we’ll be. (Richard Allen)