The Lost Album
Tollie / Sunset Blvd.
The year was 1993, and The Smithereens had already been together for thirteen years when they ducked into the studio to record what is now called The Lost Album. In between contracts with record labels, with a couple of solid hits from earlier in their career, the band spent a month in NYC’s Crystal Sound Studios, recording the dozen tracks on here, to a state that bassist Mike Mesaros judges to be “80% complete.”
For unexplained reasons, these songs sat in a shoebox for almost 30 years, before being dusted off and given a proper release. As vocalist Pat DiNizio passed away about five years ago, this is the closest we’ll get to new Smithereens material, and the time capsule nature of this record makes for bittersweet listening. Throughout their extensive career, The Smithereens were a real meat-and-potatoes band dedicated to unvarnished rock and roll, to the point that even three decades ago they were considered a bit of a throwback, referencing the British Invasion that had happened a generation earlier.
Like the Who, the band can swing between high-energy anthems and pretty pop jangles without sounding forced or ironic. The opening rocker “Out of This World” brings the same energy of their hit “A Girl Like You,” while the melodic chiming of “Pretty Little Lies” and the intriguing “Dear Abby,” which has no drum track, show the band’s dynamic breadth. “Face the World With Pride” could have been a lost Monkees track, and the closing one-two punch of the swaggering “I’m Sexy” and the reassuring balladry of “All Through the Night” makes for a great way to wrap up this album and a long and storied career. End on a high note indeed.