During the early '90s, while most American groups were caught up in the craze of alternative rock and the eventual arrival of grunge coming to the forefront of pop culture, Smashing Orange were more transfixed on what was happening on the other side of the pond: the evolution of the sound later deemed "shoegaze." Setting out to emulate the sounds of Lush and Ride, the group released several singles and EPs in 1991, and received press accolades in the U.K. but failed to make a large impact stateside. Compiled here for the first time, 1991 doesn't make for a cohesive album, but the group have aged well, and their playing is filled with a combination of styles and sounds, with shades of Mazzy Star, garage rock and emo (before it was called such) peeking out in between guitar washes and the trudging rhythm section. It's an interesting document of an American interpretation of shoegaze, and that alone should warrant inquiry by those keen on the style. Listeners expecting to find a treasure trove of groundbreaking proportions may be let down at the group's lack of innovation, but die-hard fans will be pleased to have all of the early singles finally reissued and remastered on one disc.
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AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston