Smudge - Manilow

Smudge's 1994 debut Manilow is probably the Australian trio's best-known album and, along with their fourth and final album Real McCoy, Wrong Sinatra, is re-issued here on the Domino label. You may remember them if you dipped your toes into the indie waters and to their eternal irritation, no doubt, they remain best known for their involvement with Evan Dando. While his band had its (short-lived, looking back on it) moment in the sun, his mates never really stepped up beyond mattress-in-the-back-of-the-van status and you can kind of see why. Dando had the looks and the lovely Julianna Hatfield on backing vocals; Smudge had a name that smacked of resignation and a leader in Tom Morgan, based on the evidence compiled here, with none of the charisma or, indeed, vocal chops required to stand out in waters chomping with contenders. With the likes of Buffalo Tom and Dinosaur Jr taking too much market share, you hardly needed to be Husker Du to snare a piece of the action. Smudge, ultimately, live up their dreary name; this is indie guitar pop from the conveyor which is often charming but largely yawnsome. The old story - for fans only. In fact, the first fan to reply telling me why I'm wrong wins both albums.



out of 10

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