By Greg D'Avis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thankfully, the brief hype about the "San Diego scene" has vanished to wherever media-created trends go to die, without the world being bombarded by 8 million Rocket From The Crypt-sound-alikes.
In the meantime, while the eyes of the hip look elsewhere, Southern California continues to crank out good bands Ä bands that not only are solid, but diverse, putting to rest any thoughts of a San Diego sound.
Even putting to rest the fact that they hail from an area that puts out consistently good music, Smile's debut album exceeds the wildest expectations.
Smile has a fair amount of what it takes to make it big these days Ä the listener can hear traces of Seattle rock, Helmet and poppier sensibilities. But judging by "Rock Anthem For the Retarded Teenage Hipster Population," guitarist/vocalist Mike Rosas has too much disdain for the MTV generation to strive for the brass ring: "And the fact that we're all different makes us all the same/And yet we insist on playing our stupid games/Even dressed just like our parents did when they were our age/The only thing we learn from our mistakes is that we make a lot of mistakes."
For the most part, Maquee is made up of songs that manage to pull off a difficult blend of the hefty and the hooky Ä songs like "Spud Gun," "Lemonade" and "Papaya Clearance Sale" will get you simultaneously singing along and wanting to hit something.
There are a few tracks here that don't connect Ä the droning "Staring at the Sun," the weak-kneed "Moosh", the far-too-much-'70s-rock-for-me-but-thanks-anyway "She." But most of the time, Maquee has enough hooks to pull me back in Ä and honestly, since I got this album last Thursday, it's scarcely left my stereo. Four stars, A+, whatever.
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