Steve Smith | This Town (G.A.S.)

cd_steve-smith.jpg"Sometimes being a genius is just waking up in the morning."

 

 

 

 

 

Does anyone else remember the band Dirty Vegas? The house band that had the big hit "Days Go By"? You know, the one with the video with the guy who dances on the street all day once a year in memoriam of his lost love? Well, that, along with a few other Dirty Vegas gems, can be heard in various television commercials and dance clubs alike. They also had a few that you can still catch on random TV shows, like One Tree Hill.

Anyway, apparently those guys broke up; probably for the best. I’m sure that many number one dance hits/singles can cause tension in a band. However, frontman Steve Smith is still in the game, though he is spinning his music wheels via the indie rock route instead of meandering around DJ-spinning techno land.

"Sometimes being a genius is just waking up in the morning."

I’m not quite sure what to take of this statement, made by actor John Savage in the little commentary section of the album’s title track, but I have a feeling it was meant to be very insightful. I personally found the entire section to be a bit pretentious. But I guess having a world-renowned celebrity like Savage on your record would be a hard opportunity to pass up.

Regardless, the medium of choice of this track—spoken word over ambient musical noise—was pretty intriguing. I must say, however, on first listen I was a little leery of what I was getting myself into. Ambient trance isn’t really my style these days, especially during a late-night drive like the one I was currently taking. But, to my pleasant surprise, the album turned out to be very stylistically diverse. I was very happy to witness the broadening of Smith’s musical horizons.

Lo-fi garage rock tunes like "Hit Me Up" and (Dirty Vegas cover) "Late Nights and Street Fights" perked up my long, late-night drive, and acoustic tunes like "Universe" successfully tugged the heartstrings, causing me to reminisce on old pastimes listening to Coldplay and Lynyrd Skynyrd (yes, you just witnessed Coldplay and Lynyrd Skynyrd being used in the same sentence).

Along with those, the record provides some great Americana with "Smile," good ol’ rock-pop with "Comedown Queen," and a nice instrumental folk tune ("Morning Jane") that incorporates some nice melodies via harmonica and sitar. Each song is infused with a taste or two of electronica, in what I can assume is homage to Smith’s former project.

And then there’s the acoustic version of Dirty Vegas’s "Days Go By" which is, as acoustic covers go, quite a nice listen. The other reinterpretation, "Late Nights and Street Fights," was pretty good, too, though its style didn’t digress very much from the original.

All and all, This Town is a record that is definitely worth a listen. And, really, who doesn’t like John Savage? That endorsement alone should be reason to go out and get the CD. B- | Sheila Shahpari

RIYL: Wilco, The White Stripes, Dirty Vegas

Steve Smith can be found online at http://www.stevesmithmusic.com and www.myspace.com/stevesmithmusic1

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