If you don't listen to another record this year, you'd be a fool to pass up on this one. Sadly, during Smashing Orange's short-lived existence, many did, which probably contributed to their almost instant demise.
'1991' is a collection of the band's two singles and two EPs that were recorded in - yes, you guessed - 1991, and despite the fact that these records are almost a decade-and-a-half old, they still sound fresh and invigorating, standing the test of time admirably particularly alongside the new generation of ethereal noisemongers like Amusement Parks On Fire and Mainline.
Initially the brainchild of New York based singer/guitarist Rob Montejo, the Smashing Orange story is littered with traumas and setbacks, none more so than the fact that their only visit to the UK was marred due to Montejo's younger sister and co-vocalist Sara being refused entry into the country on account of not being able to obtain a work permit because she was still at school.
Still, the 12 songs here are a joy to behold and merely illustrate what a great loss Smashing Orange were. The stoned tremor of 'My Deranged Heart' and perplexing feedback waltz of 'Just Before I Come (Believe Me)' echo the wretched torment of some of Jason Pierce's more recent works, while 'Any Further, It's All Over' is the most incongruous "love" song ever written using tremelo and wah-wah, more by way of the fact that it's narrators are brother and sister, yet when Sara Montejo coos "just follow my footsteps across the sand" it does things to the hairs on the back of one's neck usually reserved for...exactly.
As well as the more errant, pre-post-rocking elements of their repertoire, Smashing Orange also had a pop sensibility that would probably have been sneered at by most of their contemporaries back then but the sing-along-a-buzzsaw genius of 'Sugar' and twisted melon(choly) salad of 'Not Very Much To See' undoubtedly paved the way for people like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Ambulance Ltd to take that final radio-friendly step in recent years.
Sadly, as so often happens, the real innovators tend to get forgotten about. Well not any longer it seems. '1991' is razorsharp dream pop at its best, and rather than queueing alongside the rest of the bores for 'X&Y', stay one step ahead and purchase this instead. You know it makes sense.
9Dom Gourlay's Score