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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Smile (USA) - 1985 Smile
Smile (USA) - 1985 Smile

ALBUM: Smile
YEAR: 1985


LINEUP: Scott Waller - lead vocals * Tommy Girvin - guitars, vocals * David Blade - bass, vocals * Mark Poynter - keyboards, vocals * Tony Pacheco - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Radio Act Of Love * 02 Celebrity * 03 I Want You * 04 When I Get Ready * 05 Down In Hollywood * 06 Open Your Eyes * 07 The Give Away * 08 Loose Ends * 09 Jet Stream

Those of you who've lurked around these pages for the last few years know I've never been the biggest supporter of the 80s 'hair' scene. For me it was too much about image over substance with over-blown videos and production not to mention a glut of bands who in many cases should never been allowed near a recording studio. And yet back in the day you might be surprised to know I bought my fair share of the stuff, permed my hair and owned more than one pair of torn stone-washed jeans. I was into it and initially it was an exciting period; the 70s fun rock of Kiss, Starz and Legs Diamond updated to the then present day but as time went on it became increasingly cliche and after buying far too many Beau Nasty and Trixter also-rans; it was clear the scene was not mine and I moved on. It seems like a lifetime ago now but there are still albums from the golden age of 80s hair that have stuck with me including the early Ratt and Cinderella classics as well as a few oddball one-off releases like this little charmer from Smile. Formed in the late 70s by vocalist Scott Waller and guitarist Tommy Girvin; Smile lasted ten years and was a mainstay on the notorious L.A. club circuit. Signed to MCA's sub-label Curb, the record went nowhere fast but remains a quintessential melodic to the core party rock album.

The Songs
This is seriously good stuff and why 'Radio Act Of Love' wasn't a gold-plated single is a tragedy of epic proportions. Massive hook, a huge chorus, a weird theatrical bridge; it was top-level pop metal songwriting that should have put Smile on arena tours everywhere. Minutes later 'Celebrity' a pumping fist-in-the-air rocker reminds me of the late great Autograph while 'I Want You' is as catchy as heck and as good as anything on the first two Aldo Nova albums. Sure Tommy Girvin's guitar riffs are big enough to move mountains and lyrically it's all hot babes and partying after the show but its great rock and roll and why fight it? Again the Autograph comparisons come into play on 'Open Your Eyes' and I would have picked this one as a follow-up single choice with special mention for the keyboards of Mark Poynter, who train-spotters will recognize from Tommy Lee's pre- Motley Crue band - Dealer, does a remarkable job filling out the Smile sound throughout the records nine cuts. More fun and a bit 'o Van Halen-esque jungle fun on 'Loose Ends' while the grand finale 'Jet Stream' rocks harder than anything else before it, closing out a wild and entertaining nostalgia trip I still find myself happily taking over and over again.

In Summary
Never on CD and surprisingly I rarely see or hear anyone ask for it, a label like Retrospect would do well with these guys. Following the end of Smile vocalist Scott Waller went on to work with Quiet Riot related project Gang Of Thieves and continues to perform with the hard rock outfit Road Crew while Tommy Girvin found full-time work with Eddie Money's band and released two good discs with GD faves Ransom. The jury's out on the whereabouts of bassist David Blade and drummer Tony Pacheco. Anyone know, drop us a line..

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#1 | opbrekke on October 11 2011 02:50:40
This was released on cd on the Rock it label and can be purchased from Retrospect. Just follow the appropriate link on their site. I have it and it's worth getting if you are not too concerned about the fact that it was not released by one of the major reissue companies. Sound wise it's not bad.
#2 | gdazegod on October 11 2011 03:21:34
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