Album Review: Drivin' n' Cryin,' "Smoke"

For a band previously labelled as rootsy rockers, this last effort doesn't half sound like AC/DC as in She Doesn't Wanna Go, or - gulp! - Motorhead even. 

On the flipside, their more familiar style does bring to mind ol' Cranky himself, Bob Dylan, particularly on What Difference Does It Make. However, my main gripe with Smoke is that it lacks fire.

I dunno, but at times the music's too dense, too stodgy, and the songs tend to blur into sub-metal riffing, with Kinney's raspy vocals dissolving into a whine. But, if ya stick with it, Smoke does send good signals. The punchy and impassioned Eastern European being a good example, or how about the no-nonsense rocker Turn it Up or Turn it Off. A fine live band with a commendable recorded history, but the verdict must be "can do better."  GRADE C

Mark Liddell
Riff Raff
June, 1993
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