Whatever the shade or flavour which sparks up our individual fires, we all love a bit of music nostalgia. Arguably a major chunk of current music harkens back to earlier times in some way, whether a band inspired by the first days of death metal, another by the psychedelic sounds of the sixties or one investigating the post punk discord of the eighties. There are others Like US rockers Smash Fashion who openly and eagerly attempt to re-ignite and re-energise a style which gave breath to their love of music.
LA based quartet Smash Fashion is, in their description, a power pop rock n roll band, in our description the band is quite simply rock music at its best, honest, enthused, and here to aurally molest with the wink of a devil. The band show with a passion their distinctive dandy rock in their current single Blame It On The Brandy/Marionette, two songs which pull you back to the seventies with a fine mix of power pop, hard rock, and a spattering of glam. The tracks play like a fusion of The Motors, Sweet, Cheap Trick and most of all Thin Lizzy brought up to date and given a fresh heart. The single follows two acclaimed albums, A Gentlemens Guide to Sophisticated Savagery of 2006 and Don’t Pet The Sweaty Things which came out three years later, all through Electricpudding Recordings.
The band is fronted by the iconic Roger Deering, a man with a swagger in attitude and songwriting not to mention vocally. With him the band has a line-up which could almost be called a super group. The guitars are brought by ex glam/punk band Rock City Angels member Lloyd Stuart Casson, whilst on bass there is Nigel Mogg, ex member of British hard rock band The Quireboys, known in the US as London Quireboys. Completing the line-up is drummer Repo (Reijo Kauppila), once of Finnish glam rock legends, Smack. The four come together to create sounds which resurrect feelings and thoughts from earlier times whilst turning them into a thrilling proposition with its place firmly in the now, the result a evocative feast for the senses.
Blame It On The Brandy is first up and immediately has the senses at attention with the thumping and anthemic rhythms of Repo pounding at their door. The track then settles in a keen yet reserved brew of infectious hooks, stirring riffs and pulsating rhythms. The vocals too have a welcoming draw which invites one to unify in voice with the chorus whilst group harmonies further light the air. The track is pure rock n roll tinged with contagious seventies glam flourishes especially mid way in, and a closing crescendo of burning guitar play which is hard rock at its best. The song is an evolving pleasure starting with an American rock introduction moving through that a glam rock teasing and ending with a guitar climax which would fit smoothly into any Thin Lizzy set. It is a seamless flow which takes the infectiousness of the song deeper until it is a raging presence in the head long after the last note has drifted away.
Marionette is a dirtier and feistier track, the band adding a punk rub to their sound. Though the song ruffles the ear more than its companion it again is instantly engaging with immense satisfaction left in its wake. The rawer air to the song brings a heavier and more mischievous adventure to the ear, its attitude combative yet respectful. The song, a reworking of a track on Don’t Pet The Sweaty Things, has glances of The Damned and Dead Boys to it and having checked out the original for comparison, the band definitely bring a strength and roundness maybe lacking in the original to the song for a fuller impact. From the rhythms and hypnotic basslines to the expressive vocals and searing guitar invention, the song hits the spot dead centre and arguably is the better of the two tracks.
If Smash Fashion is a band which has eluded your ears then there is a no better entrance into their naughty, hungry, and exciting world than through Blame It On The Brandy/Marionette. They are a long overdue treat no one should be denied.
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