There really is no need to mention the age of Smoosh members (and sisters) Asya and Chloe, because that might then depreciate their music, make what they've created in their sophomore release seem quaint or cute. And that wouldn't be fair, because Free to Stay has as much panache, maturity, and great poppy hooks as anything else out there. Smoosh's drum-keyboard combo is the perfect setting for their lightly thoughtful songs about life as they know and see it, and it's clear that the sisters are really only making music because it's what they love to do. Their songs aren't particularly complicated, though drummer Chloe manages to bring in the occasional funky beat to work behind singer/keyboardist Asya's straightforward melodies, but it's their simplicity and lack of pretense that's so refreshing to hear and what makes Free to Stay so listenable. The title cut is light and catchy with plenty of classically inspired piano arpeggios, while the aptly named "Rock Song" is slightly darker, with heavier keys that bring almost a dance-punk feel to Asya's calls of "try to find me again but you don't know how." The best thing about the band, though, better than their catchy riffs and unabashed enthusiasm, is that they don't overdo it, or try to cover topics that are too adult. Asya sticks to relatively simple ideas about finding one's self, uncertainty, and falseness; things that smart, confident teenagers who are also rather aware and perceptive to what's going on around them think of, but she never takes herself too seriously. It's the perfect amount of insight without seeming forced, overly precocious, or cutesy, with enough substance to make it actually worth listening to, a balance that even bands twice their age can't always attain. Yes, Asya does sound like the 14-year-old girl she is, and yes, sometimes you wonder if Chloe needs to be doing her homework, but when the music's this fun, does it really matter?
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AllMusic Review by Marisa Brown