What it should "smell like" is raw songs. The point is to make songs, not an album that's produced into oblivion. Most artists won't do something like this, i.e. releasing tracks that not only aren't
melodyned/autotuned/edited/comped from multiple takes, but can't
be melodyned/autotuned/edited/comped from multiple takes since it's all recorded in 1 pass on 1 track . Who else has done something that raw? The Mountain Goats and Neutral Milk Hotel are the only examples I know of. I'm sure there are others, but it's rare.
I'll tell you what a publicity stunt is: modern production. That's a publicity stunt and a gimmick if I've ever seen one. "Oh, hey, look at how perfect we can make these drums sound by beat detecting the shit out of them! People will actually think this drummer is good when in actuality, we just took their shitty playing and turned it into a drum machine!"
-Your average sound engineer.
Yes, recording raw songs in one's own house is "gimmicky". /s