Astro Lounge

Smash Mouth

Interscope, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Going into Astro Lounge, the second album from recent alternative-rock darlings Smash Mouth, I was a little apprehensive. After all, I had yet to listen to their debut Fush Yu Mang (a detail which is being taken care of thanks to eBay'er Lyn Van Dusen), and I had been disappointed by the cover of ? And The Mysterians's "Can't Get Enough Of You Baby". Was I going to be expecting more of the retro-sounding rock that made "Walkin' On The Sun" so addicting? Was I going to be disappointed by what I heard?

Fortunately, Steve Harwell and crew know how to hook the listener in as well as to create their own unique sound without relying on retro much. Thanks to the first official single "All Star," you'll have a good idea of what to expect from my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Astro Lounge. ("Can't Get Enough Of You Baby" was originally brought to prominence in the movie Can't Hardly Wait.) If you like "All Star," chances are you'll like Astro Lounge - and I happened to like "All Star".

The sci-fi sound to the album's opener "Who's There" disarms you at first - the smooth delivery of the music (thanks to Harwell and guitarist Greg Camp) sets the mood for a musical party, and for the better part of 50 minutes, Smash Mouth delivers the goods.

"Diggin' Your Scene" has a little taste of "Walkin' On The Sun" to it, but it's by no means a clone; the fast-paced tempo of the tune makes it one that will probably have you standing up and dancing to. "Roadman" is a reggae-influenced track that has both style and substance to it, and would be an excellent choice for a follow-up single. And, of course, there's "All Star," the song that has yet to reach oversaturation (like radio did with "Walkin' On The Sun") that knows when to turn the adrenaline up and down.

This isn't to say that Astro Lounge is perfect; there are a few cracks on the walls that need a little spackling. "Waste" is a little slow for my tastes, though it's not a terrible track by any means, and "Stoned" is just a song I cannot get into, no matter how many times I listen to the disc. It is a little hard to stay focused on the disc at times, but eventually Harwell and crew draw the listener in with a killer song ("Defeat You," "Come On, Come On").

As for "Can't Get Enough Of You Baby," I still can't say honestly that I like this track, but I can at least sit through its playing now. (It used to be that when this one came on, I actually had to change the station on the radio.) It's a weird choice of a cover, but, hey, if you like it, more power to you.

Some people, I'm sure, were wondering if Smash Mouth were destined to be one-hit wonders. Astro Lounge answers that question with a resounding, "Hell, no." A truly fun album to listen to (even with the rare mistake), this disc proves that Smash Mouth has the capability to be hitmakers for a long time.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen 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 Interscope, and is used for informational purposes only.