God Save the Smithereens [Deluxe Edition]
Performer: The Smithereens
Engineer: John Agnello; Billy Siegle; Mark Anthony Williams; John Siket; Bil Emmons; John Agnello; Mark Williams...
Producer: Don Fleming; Don Flemming; Billy Siegle; Don Dixon; Don Fleming; Bill Crowley (Reissue)...
Distributor: E1 Distribution (USA)
Notes: The 25th Anniversary Deluxe 2CD reissue of GOD SAVE THE SMITHEREENS includes bonus tracks & Pat DiNizio's SONGS AND SOUNDS (1997). The Smithereens: Tony Smith (vocals, drums, percussion); J.J. Burnel (bass guitar); Dennis Diken, Jim Babjak, Mike Mesaros, Pat DiNizio, Sonny Fortune. Personnel: Pat DiNizio (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Jim Babjak (vocals, guitar); Mike Mesaros (vocals, bass guitar); Dennis Diken, Thunder Smith (vocals, drums, percussion); J.J. Burnel, Marti Jones, Carrie Akre (vocals); Kevin "Chopper" Weremeychik (guitar); Sonny Fortune (flute, saxophone); Don Dixon (recorder, piano); Jon Thorton (trumpet, French horn); Lew Soloff (trumpet); Cuck Farmer, Christopher Washburne (trombone). Additional personnel: Lew Soloff, Christopher Washburne, Carrie Akre. Audio Mixers: John Agnello; Bill Emmons . Audio Remasterer: Drew Lavyne. Liner Note Authors: Don Fleming; Pat DiNizio; Don Dixon. Recording information: Magic Shop (02/1999-06/1999); Magic Shop, New York, NY (02/1999-06/1999); Mayberry Studios, Tempe, AZ (02/1999-06/1999); Sear Sound, New York, NY (02/1999-06/1999); Spain (02/1999-06/1999). Photographers: Philin Phlash; Michael Halsband; Jody Lee Thomas; Michael Daks. After two decades, the Smithereens were no longer in step with the times and they no longer cared -- they do what they do because they love it, not because it's fashionable. They were at that point with 1994's A Date With the Smithereens, but that record was hurt by a weird undercurrent of bitterness and Pat DiNizio's songwriting slump. Wisely, the group decided to take a break after that album. The extended five-year hiatus recharged the group, if God Save is any indication. Not that the record is a masterpiece, but it is a good journeyman record that plays up their strengths quite nicely. There's a little bit of everything that the Smithereens do on the record -- jangly pop ("She's Got a Way"), doomy rock ("The Last Good Time"), melancholy ballads, crunching riffs, and even a re-working of "Gloomy Sunday," reminiscent of DiNizio's moody solo effort. The Kinks allusion in the title is appropriate, since the Smithereens are also pop traditionalists whose consistency is only appreciated by a selective, discerning audience. Unlike Ray Davies, no one in the band really seems to care about the hits drying up -- there's joy within their songcraft and their performances, they like the act of making music itself. Admittedly, God Save may not be as immediate or memorable as their best albums from the late '80s, but there are no weak moments on the record. Every song is well-crafted and delivered with conviction -- the very things that made the Smithereens a beloved cult band. God Save the Smithereens may not play to the wide audience that loved "A Girl Like You," but that cult will certainly be pleased by this strong comeback. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Alternative Press (1/00, p.100) - 3 out of 5 - "...Same chords, same tunes, same lyrics, same overwhelming warm and fuzzy friendly churn of relentlessly rocking roll....you can't help liking it..."
The Smithereens filtered their '60s British Invasion pop/rock roots through an '80s alt-rock sensibility. Pat DiNizio's deep, moody vocals and Jim Babjak's thick, heavy guitar riffs added darkness and modernity to the classic pop structures of the group's songs. They broke big in the mid-'80s, and kept on chugging for quite a while, but, by the end of the '90s, DiNizio shifted his focus elsewhere, working as a solo act and running for political office in New Jersey. The outfit reunited in the late-'00s.
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