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coverpic flag Australia - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 3 - 01/23/97

You Me Carpark... Now
Half A Cow (PO Box 1100 Strawberry Hills, NSW 2012, AU)

Last time you heard from me here in Australia I presented you with a brand new band hitting the ranks of indie pop stardom. This review brings with it the acclaim only heralded by one of the few well established Australian bands to stand the test of time, and no I'm not talking about AC/DC or the Little River Band. SMUDGE. The imperfection of a blurred or marked line caused by rubbing out and starting again. And Smudge are indeed like that, but it is the imperfections of their self-created pop world which makes them all the more endearing and presents You Me Carpark... Now as a referential part of the Australian music story.

If you know of Boston band The Lemonheads, then you are firmly in the ball park (carpark?) with understanding the Smudge sound. Smudge main songwriter Tom Morgan has co-written many a Lemonheads tune and, in turn the Lemonheads have covered many a Smudge track either live or on an album. Recorded in Chicago with Casey Rice, the album does take on an American feel, playfully echoed in the inner sleeve artwork and constant reference to an established American standard pop culture which has filtered into Australia second hand. Smudge, over the course of a modestly impressive fifteen tracks, illustrate an air of seriousness developed from their recordings overseas. The band we thought would take their innocent pop adolesence into retirement have grown to hit their late teens. Or so it seems.

Perhaps it's bass player Adam Yee's debut songwriting contributions that have aided their air of growth, adding an experimental Smudge sound to conflict with the bouncing glee of both Morgan and drummer Alison Galloway's written contributions. This is not to say that Morgan and Galloway lack substance in their songs - far from it - rather, the harp back to the imperfections mentioned earlier with tracks like Lighten Up Hank, Skateboard Trickery, and Mike Love Not War (which incidentally is the first single off the album) brimming over with bubbling infectiousness and a summer spirit sorely needed in a musical world which, over the past ten or so years, has been dominated somewhat by an infatuation with the dark and depressive.

One word to sum up Smudge would without a doubt have to be (that grossly over used word) 'cool'. Smudge ooze coolness from Tom Morgan's carefully constructed guitar to Alison's beautifully sweet vocals and Adam's bizarre twisting experiential experimentations. Tap your foot, nod your head, put this in the car stereo, wind up the windows and sing at the top of your voice. It would be a cliche to say Smudge are a breath of fresh air, but damnit, it's true.

Copyright © 1997 Tricia Waterman e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Smudge article/review: You Me Carpark... Now.

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