The early '90s saw two veins of American "shoegazing" or dream-pop -- one took the immersive noise of the British scene and applied it to indie pop tones (Black Tambourine), while the other simply took standard American rock and added loads of guitar effects. Smashing Orange falls into this second category -- The Glass Bead Game, probably their most polished and accessible release, has more plain and not-so-interesting rock elements than it does shoegazer influences, and most of the album winds up sounding like Ride on a very boring day. It's easy to see how the album might have been appealing at the time of its release, given that American audiences weren't as familiar with the general direction of shoegazing -- but keep in mind that My Bloody Valentine's Loveless was released a year before The Glass Bead Game, raising the bar of dreaminess to a nearly unconquerable level.
The Glass Bead Game Review
by Nitsuh Abebe