Wednesday, November 18, 2015

SMOKIE-Chasing Shadows (1992)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: November 18, 2015

The smoke is clearing up more and more as I gradually continue to make progress in getting acquainted with the English rock band called SMOKIE. Add them to the never-ending list of legendary artists who've been around for ages and I—well, you how the rest of the story goes. "Living Next Door To Alice", "If You Think You Know How To Love Me" and "Don't Play Your Rock N' Roll To Me": these were among the first few SMOKIE songs (and popular classics, from what I understand) I'd heard that I took an instant liking for, making me to realize all over again how much I like the soft rock sounds of the 70's. I could've stayed in that decade when I decided to start listening to some of the band's full studio albums, but seeing as my mind has been wrapped up in the 90's lately, I opted first for SMOKIE's 1992 album, "Chasing Shadows". Interestingly enough, there were many delightful tunes here that still retained that mellow, guitar-driven vintage soft rock glow of the 70's and made my own heart glow with satisfaction: "You're So Different", "Lyin' In The Arms Of The One You Love", "I'd Die For You" and the title track itself. I particularly like the aching voice of the lead man on "I'd Die For You" and "Lyin' In The Arms Of The One You Love" because it adds an emotional touch and gives the lyrics that feeling that I can only describe as special. There's a certain type of ballad where the longer the music plays, the more the song grows on me with the potential of being a long-lasting favorite; that type of ballad is represented first by "The Rain Came Down", then "Remember The Days". Having been acquainted with the soft rock side of this band, I was caught off-guard by the unexpected harder-rockin' jams that met my ears: "Don't Stop This Love", "One Night In Vienna" (this one's got some fun lyrics and a whole lotta spunk!) and "Scream You Guitar" (found the title quite interesting; seems this one is all about the songwriter's instrumental companion that helps him to deliver his feelings through his music-playing, highlighted by some excellent guitar riffs in the closing movements). Though before all of that, I'd instantly caught on with the lively opener, "Don't Play That Game With Me"; I'm a sucker for these pop/rock tunes that have a great hook. Surely, it was a big hit for them, and the album's cover artwork even advertises it. Great is the hook also on the album's third track, "Respect": 'what you deserve is what you get' while the catchy reggae-inspired rhythm drives the music along. My eyes may have been full of smoke before this band was suggested to me, but, in the spirit of a memorable Johnny Nash classic, I can see clearly now that SMOKIE and their music is just right for me:

1. Don't Play That Game With Me
2. You're So Different
3. Respect
4. Lyin' In The Arms Of The One You Love
5. Don't Stop This Love
6. The Rain Came Down
7. Chasing Shadows
8. One Night In Vienna
9. All My Life
10. I'd Die For You
11. Remember The Days
12. Scream You Guitar

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