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  • Smells

    Album Title: Manure Spreader
    Record Label: Rare Plant
    Review by Sal Serio
    (2232) Page Views

    The Smells - Manure SpreaderThe Smells - Manure Spreader

    The Smells are a new-ish four-piece band from Madison, and they call their music “grain belt rock n’ roll”. They have two singers who also play guitar. Their names are Leith and James. Leslie plays bass guitar and sings. Josh provides the drumbeats. The Smells released an 8-song cassette tape called ‘Manure Spreader’. This is what I have to say about that.

    The opening song is titled “1965”, and it has a fuzzy guitar sound and a catchy chorus. I liked the year 1965, because that’s when some of my earliest memories come from, like sitting on my Dad’s lap and gumming the lip on his beer bottle. But if any of you readers ever try to gum my beer bottle, I may get upset with you.

    “Vitamin World” is a little more frantic, and the words are harder to understand. But often it’s a good thing when listeners can’t decipher the words. For one, it prevents them from singing along in their car like a fool. This song is under 2:00 long, and that would make Pete Townshend proud.

    Things get wooden on the alt-folky “Winter Song”, which does feature lyrics that can both be understood, and probably sung along to as well. Or hummed, at the very least. I imagined hearing Jay Farrar sing this one, except Jay Farrar always sounds like his big toe hurts. I don’t think The Smells have any toes that are giving them pain.

    “Cherry Bomb” is the fourth song. It is not a cover by The Runaways.

    Side B starts with the song “Another Hit (In A Car)”, which, as a title, also brought back memories of my youth. But I’d bet lots of teenagers from rural areas of Wisconsin have decadent car stories to tell.

    Next up is “Blow-Up Baby”, and I suppose you think that title also brings back memories for me, but you’re wrong! Besides, I’m pretty sure the lyrics are talking about a flesh-and-blood lover. This song has a decidedly “Madison rock” feel to me, and I’m not 100% certain what gives it that quality, but I feel like I am in a dingy near-east-side Madison bar when I listen to it. “Barkeep! PBR, por favor.”

    Track 7 is titled “Fish”. Thank goodness it is not titled “Phish”.

    The last song is “GFG”, and at first I thought this was a term that I read about in Dan Savage’s newspaper column. Which of course, led to lots of speculation what the “F” substitution could be in the phrase “good, giving, and game”. I’ll let your imagination run wild with that one. And, no, I don’t actually think this has anything to do with the song at all, except that both the tune and my speculations were fun and enjoyable.

    The Smells Online