Smoke - "s/t"
(self-released 2000, CDEP)
From Aural Innovations #17 (September 2001)
As soon as I cranked this CD up on my hi-fi the opening track told me that I was in for a rock like experience. Smoke seeped out of my shit speakers and grabbed my attention, instantly submerging me into a weird heavy sort of trip. This LA trio's sound and song structures are very tight & punchy and the whole EP flows with a heavy rocky vibe throughout.
The first track on this 3 Track EP is 'Double zero'. It is a 5.11 minute song that is very aggressive and powerful. It sounds like a mix between Monster Magnet and Nirvana with a hint of something else. Yosh's Bass and Danny Foronda's Drums create a solid pounding rhythm that allows Marc Star's Guitar to produce some shit hot riffs. Marc Star's Vocal style and Lyric content is very much in the mold of Dave Wyndorf and I can see why people say that Smoke sound like Monster Magnet. Because they do! But Monster Magnet do their thing and Smoke do theirs.
The second track, 'The Moth', is a 4.44-minute heavy, almost hypnotic song that is again very much like Monster Magnet when the Lyrics start. It begins with a flanged Bass sound that sets the perfect scene for the Drums & Guitar to unfold into a heavy stoned vibe. When they enter it is almost jam sounding and it has a nice sort of Black Sabbath feel to it, which I like. There is quite a bit jammy type stuff in this song with Yosh's Bass showing signs of a Geezer Butler influence, and with the help of Danny Foronda's Drums they hold the song firm. Once again they both produce a solid rhythm for Marc Star's Guitar to explore the far reaches of the music.
The last song on the EP is an 8.44 song called 'Stranger'. It also has a very Black Sabbath sound to it. Sort of 'War Pigs' but not quite. It follows on from the first two songs perfect, and again it is much the same. But this time the flanger has been put on the Drums at the beginning instead of the Bass.
Smoke offers very power driven songs on this EP and they produce a sound throughout that is hectic and heavy. The best track for me is 'The Moth' because it has elements of exploration and a sense of improvisation. Hope a full-length album is on the way soon.
For more information you can visit Smoke web site at: http://www.smoke-rock.com.
Contact via snail mail c/o Smoke; PO Box 27663; Los Angeles, CA 90027-0663.
Reviewed by Albert Pollard