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The Smiths – The Smiths

The Smiths 1984 Debut

The Smiths

(1984), 7.5/10
The Smiths’ 1984 debut is remarkably assured, with the group having figured out their signature sound, and if anything overusing it; the arrangements are homogeneous, and even a moderate alteration such as the addition of a harmonica to ‘Hand In Glove’ seems revolutionary in the context of the record. An average running time of more than four minutes for each track is too long for the stripped down sound, and some variations in style would have been welcome, and the result is a record that’s well-crafted, but less than the sum of its parts.

It’s the singles that stand out, mostly because they’re delivered with more energy – ‘This Charming Man’ (with the memorable line ‘Why pamper life’s complexities/When the leather run smooth on the passenger seat?’), ‘Hand In Glove’ and ‘What Difference Does It Make’ – while the low point is ‘Miserable Lie’, ending with a couple of uncomfortable minutes of Morrissey falsetto.

Hatful of Hollow, released later in 1984, features six of these songs, some in improved stripped down BBC session form, and render this album somewhat obsolete; as good as some of the remaining songs are, there’s little compelling reason to buy this if you already own Hatful.

 

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