Music Reviews

The Smooths

No Brakes


The Smooths strike gold again with the follow-up to their self-released debut Very Own Vegas . The sensational Baltimore-based ska octet lined up the Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ Joe Gittleman to produce No Brakes , and you can definitely hear a bit of that influence. The record has a powerful, confident feel that’s not at all unlike the Bosstones – especially on “Get By,” which puts me in the mind of the Bosstones’ “Someday I Suppose” – but the sound is all Smooths. They excel at poppy, hooky tunes that stick to your brain like super glue, like the driving “Commander 7 to Spaceboy,” the punky “Farewell,” the trad-ska of “Take A Look” and the instrumental “Return of the Dragon,” and the reggae-flavored “Inside Song” and “Big Decisions,” which feature some tasty dub effects. Singer Tommy Gilhuley has a distinctive voice that fits the tunes perfectly, and the three-piece horn section is impeccable, as always. Let’s hope a little of that Bosstones platinum touch rubbed off on the Smooths during the making of No Brakes – this is one band that deserves to make it big!

Dummy Recordings, 6201 Sunset Blvd., Suite 211, Hollywood, CA 90028

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