Rykodisc professes its love for Manchester, England's treasured sons, the Smiths, on How Soon Is Now? The Songs of the Smiths. This dozen-track set joins the ranks of other tribute collections that honor Morrissey and co., most notably Matinee's darling indie pop toast Romantic and Square Is Hip and Aware: A Matinee Tribute to the Smiths and the more obscure punk compilation The World Still Won't Listen: A Tribute to the Smiths. Like it or not, the legendary permanence that surrounds the Smiths will forever influence music as we know it in the new millennium. Select artists from the emo and indie rock communities adhere to that on How Soon Is Now?, making it an engaging collection for some while a sacrilegious musical moment for others. Cursive get it right with their quirky and melodic rendition of "Frankly Mr. Shankly." Instruction's dramatic account of "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me" is pure class. Former Errortype: 11 vocalist Arty Shepherd does his best Nick Cave impersonation for one of the album's more surprisingly artistic standouts. As much criticism as Love Spit Love got for their version of "How Soon Is Now," the British alternative metal quintet Hundred Reasons do a decent job with their translation of the Smiths' epic. It's probably the most lilting performance they've done in their career thus far. Hundred Reasons' Johnny Marr-like, chunky guitar riffs are spot on, and their effort alone is worthy of attention. It's with the more nervy rock stylings where things get complex for How Soon Is Now? From Your Code Name Is: Milo's punk thrash of "Death of a Disco Dancer" to the stormy eccentricity of "Bigmouth Strikes Again" by Read Yellow, Smiths loyalists must accept that most bands nowadays do worship the Smiths, and therefore anyone can cover their songs. It doesn't mean everyone does it well, but the concept behind How Soon Is Now? The Songs of the Smiths captures the undying love for the band. When covering a Smiths song in your garage, let alone recording a Smiths song for an album, the experience itself is what it's all about. The Smiths provided an amazing and a nearly unspeakable way of life for those who loved them and for those who wanted to hate them. How Soon Is Now? The Songs of the Smiths builds upon that very notion and makes these songs accessible for a new generation of fans.
AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson