Nowhere Ride (EP)

The Chelsea Smiles

Capitol, 2005

REVIEW BY: Chris Harlow

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/18/2005

According to English gangster lore, the scar one gets from being cut ear to ear is known as a Chelsea smile. Today, it is known as a Los Angeles quartet that is rapidly becoming known as former Agnostic Front and Danzig member Todd Youth's new hard rock band.

Recently, I caught the Chelsea Smiles live as an opener to the Backyard Babies and, after the gig, I walked away knowing that I had been exposed to a band that was easily the match of the headliner I had driven five hours to see. Such a thing doesn't happen very often in my world.bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250

Picking up their debut E.P, Nowhere Ride, at the merchandise table that night, I have been reveling in this nasty little taster of what I expect their soon-to-be released full-length album to more fully reveal. Nowhere Ride offers up four singles of a slightly tinged punk sound mixed with more of a straightforward rock output that sounds as good on CD as it does live. With Youth, guitarist Christian Black (Dee Dee Ramone's band), bassist John Martin, and drummer Karl Rosqvist actually carrying the street cred from their past associations to match their all black clothing attire, there is hope that this band is built to last.

The track "Action Coming Down" is the bona fide hit single when Capitol gets around to releasing the album. Youth's vocals are intelligibly straightforward and melodic - more so than my personal favorite track from the album, "Freakout." The title of the second song is more of a headstrong effort and carries more testosterone than labels usually are willing to release these days. Still, there's nothing stiff about either these songs or the title track, which rounds out the three original songs here.

Perhaps to establish their credibility even further, the Chelsea Smiles also include a cover of the New York Dolls' "Pirate Love," which deflates the tempo of the rest of the album despite the fact that it's a spot-on recording.

Match all this up with the fact that the Chelsea Smiles have secured a major label contract in Capitol, this reviewer is hoping that the foundation of homogenized rock bands such as Blink 182 and Good Charlotte is about to crack. Nowhere Ride comes up aces and should pave the way for the Chelsea Smiles to become a band people will become more familiar with in the near future.

Rating: A

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© 2005 Chris Harlow and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol, and is used for informational purposes only.