October 21, 2021

Smile - Maquee (1994)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
Label Number: 82769-2
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© 1994-1995 Atlantic/Headhunter Records
Maquee Review by Ned Raggett
Smile's 1994 album (re-released the following year on Atlantic) should be greater than it is, but generally speaking, it isn't. It is, however, exactly what a rock release from that year would almost stereotypically appear like from a distance -- grungy on the one hand, vaguely punk-pop on the other. Like more than a few bands of the time, there was actually a pretty enjoyable straight-up pop act lurking somewhere amid the noise, and opening song "Rock Anthem for the Retarded Teenage Hipster Population" is simultaneously parody and celebration of just that concept. The verses could be Green Day, the chorus could be Pearl Jam, together it might all be Nirvana, and it sure as heck sounds great. Alas, after that crackerjack start everything starts to slide a bit down into something that's aiming at the self-referencing grandeur of Soundgarden or early Stone Temple Pilots and is, overall, just sorta there. No question that it sounds pretty great on the production/engineering tip, so credit to the band, Eric Garten, and Geoff Harrington on that point -- big beats crash, the riffs are suitably monstrous, and guitarist Mike Rosas' rasp is serviceable enough. Every so often there's an odd little twist thrown in the mix -- the semi-steel drum-ish rhythm (created in part by guitar!) on "Picture Made Past," the concluding guitar parts on "She." But Maquee can't quite escape the shadow of its inspirations for the most part, resulting in constant comparisons to more well-known acts instead of something distinct on its own. Still, the liner note exhortations to get out of debt are well-taken.

tags: smile, maquee, 1994, 1995, flac,

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