Free to Stay

We can safely assume that Smoosh will never write another song as free and breezy as “Rad,” a charmingly goofy rap about soccer that was a standout track on its debut album, She Like Electric. But these two young sisters (collective age barely 25) are still making ebullient pop on Free to Stay. It isn’t just the sophomore slump they’re up against on songs like the title track, with its ambitious background vocals, and the darkly melodic “Rock Song”; it’s the whole cute thing that Smoosh has to battle. And the girls do, valiantly. Chloe’s vocals and Asya’s drumming have matured, and their arrangements are fleshed out (with guitars and more harmonies added). Any nostalgia we feel for a younger Smoosh clearly is not shared by the girls; they are a serious pop band, growing up, going places.