|Just looking at the cover artwork and
the album name, theres an instant discharge of retro and delving deeper, thats
exactly what you get from this New York based band. This is a throw back to the days of
spacey, psychedelic rock - those wild late 60s and early 70s. And you can
smell in the Smoke heady wafts of weed
intermingled with patchouli soaked afghan, as the music conjures up pictures of happy
people with flowers in their hair.
But lets not simplify things too much as this album offer more than you might expect. The basis of many songs are quite similar, that stoner induced fuzz, the 'wailing guitar' sound of Hendrix, a blues influence that often comes out in Free style slick emotional solo's and vocals that are reminiscent of Monster Magnet. But across the album theres stoner, blues and psychedelia, as well as classic rock, Hawkwind-esque atmospheric space flights, and even some doomy Sabbath sounding metal.
M-Squad have managed to produce a package that has a multi-layered groove to the songs which adds the last ingredient of character and completes the authentic feeling of the era. This has really taken us by surprise as the initial thought wasnt particularly appealing, but after a couple of serious listens this is actually a good and enjoyable album. It contains well-written and well-formed songs - although containing very little thats new its highly entertaining and is the perfect antidote to a long hard day. Some may prefer the originals, other ask if theres a place for this today, we say dont worry about it - just furnish the room with incense, dim the lights, sit back and take a Smoke.
Rigsby (30th December, 2002)