Smogtown – All Wiped Out (CD)

 

Coming out with a sound that is reminiscent of the very first days of the 1990s on the West Coast, Smogtown really knows how to write a punk anthem. If it isn’t the Gilman sound of times back, some of these tracks would seem just as proper on a GBH or Exploited album – really, the songs are anthems enough to stand the test of time, and the mass legions of Smogtown fans can attest to that. Collecting all the tracks from Smogtown’s last few recording sessions, the tracks are not overly produced and it honestly sounds as if one is listening to a record of the band. Each part of Smogtown is spot on for their own section of the CD, whether it be the bass or strummy guitars. The key to this recording is its extreme shortness – 8 tracks come and go in the space of 15 minutes, keeping individuals from getting bored with the album. Not that they would, however, as Smogtown’s sound is innovative enough that individuals will listen to this disc on repeat.

This is an Occam’s razor with a lot of these posthumous releases – I really wish that a more major label would have picked up the band a while before they broke up, and I congratulate TKO for going and putting this disc out and preserving a band that would not have otherwise had such wide promotion. With a disc that has all these high-caliber tracks, it becomes really hard to pick out a favorite, either in terms of lyrical content, general sound, or technical aptitude. The result is that “All Wiped Out” is one of the most even and solid discs that I’ve heard in recent memory, making sure to have a high standard of musicianship without going into a rut.

Imagine the sharp guitars of The Vandals, the bounciness of The Dickies and the throaty vocals of the Dropkick Murphies and Smogtown begins to come alive in a review. However, they are such much more than a listing of influences, they are a band that sounds as vibrant on an album as most bands would struggle to be live. This is not a band that can be constructed on cakewalk or assembled like most popular flavours of the weak – Smogtown has a sense of individuality and soul around each member that one would be hard-pressed to find in any current band, regardless of whether they call themselves “punk” or not.

Top Tracks : You’ll Be Disturbed, Sex Offender Gender Bender

Rating : 9.0/10

Smogtown – All Wiped Out / 2004 TKO Records / 8 Tracks / http://smogtown.tripod.com / http://www.tkorecords.com / Reviewed 07 February 2004 /

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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