The Smithereens: Smithereens 2011

The Smithereens: Smithereens 2011
If you’re like me then you looked at the cover of The Smithereens’ 10th studio album, 2011 and thought “man, the Smithereens look old.” I guess it makes sense; the band first garnered attention with their 1988 single “Only a Memory” which was off their third album, Especially for You. The band had actually been kicking around New Jersey since 1980. In their 21 year career, the band has experienced its share of ups and downs; the most recent down came in the form of a decade long hiatus from recording. The band’s grand return to recording comes in the form of Smithereens 2011, the band’s first new album since 1999’s God Save The Smithereens.
It is tough going 12 years without recording new music because it means that if you do decide to record new music again it has to be really good. The Smithereens try to live up to that hype by working with Don Dixon who produced the band’s breakout album, Especially for You. Working with a producer a band is comfortable with lets the band be a little more natural and that comes out in 2011.
The album is filled with seemingly effortless nuggets of power pop. The album kicks off with “Sorry.” The track features a lively acoustic guitar backbone with a driving drum line and lead guitar over it. Lead singer, Pat DiNizio carries the catch vocal line. The song reminds me of the more recent upbeat stuff by Pernice Brothers.
The problem with making effortless pop is that sometimes it can seem too effortless. Some of the songs feel a little phoned in or trite. Despite DiNizio’s best Elvis Costello impression on the vocals, “As Long As You Are Near Me” has the same lyrical cliches as a million other love songs.
Because of the occasional trite lyrical performance, I can not fully endorse Smithereens 2011 but I will say that the album marks a welcome return of the band. The group still has an obvious knack for crafting catchy pop tunes and proves it with an album full of memorable hooks if not memorable lyrics.
Rating: 6.5/10
MP3: The Smithereens “Sorry”
Buy: iTunes or Amazon

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