Epic Soundtracks

Wild Smile: An Anthology

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The double-disc set Wild Smile: An Anthology is the third collection of Epic Soundtracks' songs to be released since his tragic death in 1997. The first disc collects tracks from each of his three albums that saw the light of day before his death (1992's Rise Above, 1994's Sleeping Star, and 1996's Change My Life) and two of the records that came out afterward (Everything Is Temporary and Good Things). The songs gathered on the first disc are a nice cross section of Soundtracks' career that show his brokenhearted way with a melody that's equal parts Bacharach, late-period Brian Wilson, and Sister Lovers-era Alex Chilton, sung in a voice that transmits pain without any external filters whatsoever. As with any collection, there are questionable omissions ("Stealaway" and "She Sleeps Alone"), but nothing that can't be fixed by tracking down all his albums and listening to them in their entirety. The real treat is the second disc of rarities that gathers tracks going back to 1981 ("Jelly, Babies" from his 1981 EP on Rough Trade) all the way up to performances from his last show in 1997. The radio sessions, studio outtakes, and live tracks present an alternate look at his career and unearth some breathtaking gems. Two of last songs he wrote, "Fade Away" and "Unfaithful Arms," are incredibly moving ballads; "Teenage Hearts," an outtake from Sleeping Star, is a powerful song that should have been on the album; a version of the Monkees' "I Wanna Be Free" with Max Edie on vocals is a lot of fun; and an acoustic guitar/vocal "Meet Me on the Beach" is a stunning, painfully honest take. Really, the quality of everything here makes the painful excavation process that Epic's friend Chris Coleman (of What a Nice Way to Turn 17 fanzine fame) had to undergo while putting the comp together well worth it. For anyone who ever fell under the gloomy, yet somehow hopeful, spell Soundtracks' songs could cast, Wild Smile is a reminder of just how important an artist he was.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
3:26
2
2:58
3 3:00
4
2:49
5
4:07
6
3:19
7
3:04
8
3:31
9
2:00
10
3:47
11
1:52
12
1:43
13
6:16
14 3:54
15
0:58
16
2:24
17
5:09
18
4:57
19
3:00
20
0:52
21
2:54
22
5:33
blue highlight denotes track pick