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Smoochie, comprised of Adam Holden, left, and Quint Bishop, right, sit in their Missoula living room on Jan. 16, 2021. The band released their new EP, "xoxo" on Dec. 29, 2020. They recorded the EP in their living room and mixed and mastered the songs themselves. "There was a fair amount of trial and error. Mainly just me and Adam seeing what would work. It was really a learning project scratching itches of what we've wanted to do," Bishop said.

Local musicians Adam Holden and Quint Bishop have joined forces to create smoochie, a new sad-boi indie duo. 

You may be thinking, why do we need another sad-boi indie duo? I can go to any college dorm and find a hundred men waxing poetic about the human experience. And in a scene oversaturated with indie bullshit I already gave my heart to, why would a new listener tune in to more?

But “XOXO,” released in the bleakness of a sunless winter and constant crisis, gives listeners heartwrenching catharsis that reminds us of what it’s truly like to be alive. But like, in a cool way.

This cozy little EP starts off with growing silence that eventually merges into a celebration of understated vocals, simple guitar and floating synth. While Holden sings about unrequited love and the desperate passing of time, Bishop holds our attention with production that sounds so far from homemade, we have a hard time fully grasping that it was made in Missoula. 

While the world is crumbling around us, sometimes it’s just nice to listen to a love song. Especially when that love song has layers of synth, bird calls and the familiarity of what it is to love something you don’t truly have. Maybe it’s the bullshit of 2020 and the continuing bullshit of 2021, or maybe we’re growing soft in our old age, but this first track, “apart,” hits us where it hurts without spitting in our eye. 

“honey honey” continues on this slightly melancholy ride of love, but this time with drums and a rhythm we subconsciously find ourselves swaying with. The energy on this track is just slightly higher with a dash more *spice.* This is the song you wished that dude with a guitar wrote about you freshman year (you know, instead of the cringey one). It’s a little bit depressing, but it’s a bop regardless.

“prairie” grabs our attention with samples that sound like the pre-recorded messages at an airport or train station. These samples give listeners an impression of movement and unfamiliarity. But when smoochie hits us with some soft guitar, it suddenly feels familiar. 

Bishop’s production continues to impress as he creates layers of depth, each different from the next. Holden’s lyrics about driving past someone’s house to see if he’s literally and figuratively out of time feels personal without revealing too much. The very end of the track sounds like Cinderella’s clock striking midnight. 

“love lost” is different from the rest. Simple and understated guitar make this song play like a ripped page from someone’s diary. Piano, reminiscent of the members of smoochie’s folk days, gives sad comfort. “love lost” is where smoochie finally accepts that the ones they loved are no longer theirs. It’s painful and healing, and highlights the peace that comes with acceptance. 

“XOXO” sets itself apart from other sad-boi indie records by not trying to impress us, but impressing us anyway. This EP is a labor of love, not a desperate attempt to gain recognition or to convince others to love them. It’s beautiful and sad and made all the better by its unassuming honesty.