My local radio station has been playing The Smithereens lately and it made me remember how awesome they are. I had been planning an album review of theirs for a while, and then I heard the awful news this morning that their vocalist/guitarist Pat DiNizio has passed away. I felt the best tribute I could give would be a review of one of their most popular albums, 11.
A Girl Like You – An amazing song that still gets radio play today. The drumming, bass and especially the guitar work here are incredible. Although my favourite part is the mix between the lead and background vocals. Maria Vidal guests here and her addition really sets this one over the top. It really reminds me of an early TPOH song, and that is really high praise indeed.
Blues Before And After – This song is put in a really tough spot. It has to follow that incredible lead single. However, the harder edge of this one make you sit up and notice. This song can equally appeal to a blues fan, a top 40 follower and a hard rocker. It has cross-over appeal that make it awesome. Many will like it even better than the first song.
Blue Period – Violins, cello, drums and a harpsichord dominate this slower paced song. This is a lovely duet with guest singer Belinda Carlisle.
Baby Be Good – More amazing background vocals from the 60’s girl band, The Honeys (including Brian Wilson’s former wife, Marilyn). Another song in the TPOH mindset.
Room Without A View – Michael Hamilton adds some great guest guitar work. This song reminds me a bit of a Barenaked Ladies song.
Yesterday Girl – It has sort of a late 80’s alternative meets 60’s rock. The organ work is cool. The dual Rickenbacker’s of Jim Babjak and Pat DiNizio mixed with the harder edge of Michael Hamilton set this song apart.
Cut Flowers – The Honeys are a welcomed addition. The bass and drums have a cool driving beat. The sparingly used guitar work is sedate but piercing at the same time. It reminds me of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet.
William Nelson – This one feels like Bare Naked Ladies met the Shadowy Men and they all tried their hands at a Springsteen song.
Maria Elena – Amazing guitar work done with a touch of Spanish flair. The back and forth vocals between Pat Dinizio and producer Ed Stasium are very cool indeed.
Kiss Your Tears Away – This one has a Jeff Healy meets The Byrds. If you like amazing 60’s style guitar mixed with great vocals, this song’s for you.
I can imagine the 1989 version of myself would have listened to just the first 2 songs on repeat. The 2017 version of me enjoys this entire album though. It has a lot to offer fans of many music genres, and it doesn’t sound dated.