Goodbye Harry

I Can Smoke

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If this CD had been released with any other vocalist, it would be legitimate to dismiss it as a rip-off of All's sound. Since Scott Reynolds actually was in All for several years, a bit more analysis is in order. To wit, I Can Smoke shows what a good band All was. The lyrics here are as smart and catchy as All's when Reynolds was in the band, the vocals as expressive, but the musicianship, while competent, is missing something. It's tight and accomplished but without the wit and surprising little flourishes that made All's brand of punk-pop so listenable. There are flashes of instrumental wit on a few numbers, like "Drum Monkey" and "Roland Finn," but other songs that deserve some variation and nuances hammer right through from beginning to end. That the band is capable of better is not in question. There is considerable and surprising inventiveness on "Angel," a minute-and-a-half of twisted bluegrass that sounds like a Eugene Chadbourne freakout. The oddest track is "Oblivion," a solo track from Reynolds featuring his own acoustic guitar picking. Ending a punk-pop album with a wry, affecting singer/songwriter track is an odd and interesting move. If there had been a few more unexpected moments like this and "Angel," this album would have been on the must-have list. As it is it shows lots of potential, but that's all.

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