Yeah, Well, Anyway...
Razor And Tie Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/01/2001
Ladies and gentlemen, we are pleased to give you an official "Daily Vault" First. With no concern for my own safety, I'm about to give a good grade to a CD that includes a track that I'm convinced caused sanity damage the first time I heard it. More about that in a moment.
Washington, DC's Smartbomb has a career of opening for bands that are just about to make it big. At various times, they've opened for Smashmouth, Fuel, Matchbox 20, and Our Lady Peace. Goes to show you there's no justice, as Smartbomb deserves to be big themselves. Their latest CD, Yeah, Well, Anyway...,is definitely worth a good, long look for fans of straight, uncomplicated punk-tinged rock.
They're a tight quartet with more hooks that a pirate convention and harmonies reminiscent of the Beatles. Lead vocalist Chuck Andrada reminds me a bit of Elvis Costello after a case of Jolt; the expressive voice and capacity for irony is the same, but the energy is much brighter. Musically, they're excellent; the twin guitars of Andrada and Steve Augustine lay down a powerful fabric over the steady, thrumming bass of Scott Brotemarkle and the insistent beat of drummer Derrick Decker. The production on the CD is adequate, never detracting from the sound, crisp and clear.
(Oh, no, the Bad Mind Track is coming on the CD player. No, no, no….mommy…)
Their songwriting is what really lifts Smartbomb above the normal crop of punk/alternative hybrids. Songs like "Movie Of The Week", "Acetylene", "Hysterical Inside Joke", and "Out Of Hand" combine a hard rock sensibility with incisive lyrics and powerful playing. Even more notable are "Exactly Where You Are" and "Down", both of which highlight eerie, almost discordant minor harmonies, and the almost-swing "Homecoming". "Ordinary Star", the album's bittersweet close, leaves a brief chill in the air like an October wind.
Then….there's The Song.
O Faithful DV Readers, imagine our reviewer at his desk, early in the morning, half-asleep in gym shorts and a torn tee-shirt, blinking myopically at his screen. Then, like the slow surface of some eldritch swamp thing, the realization comes to his consciousness that the song he is currently hearing is a lightning-fast punk-rock cover of Faith Hill's "Breathe".
This , ladies and gents, is wrong... and a whole hell of a lot of fun.
Smartbomb's Yeah, Well, Anyway... is one heck of a fine CD. It's an injustice that no one has opened for Smartbomb right before they went big. Shall we change that?