Friday, September 5, 2008

Smashing Orange - No Return In The End (MCA, 1994)

Smashing Orange were hailed as America's answer to the then-burgeoning shoegaze movement by the UK press around the time of their debut in 1991. Their first full-length, "The Glass Bead Game" (which can be found at the consistently-amazing blog, Wilfully Obscure) documents their original shoegaze-inspired style and early lineup, which included frontman Rob Montejo as well as his sister Sara, who provided the requisite female dream-pop vocals. Only a few years later, however, Smashing Orange had signed with MCA records and shed the shoegaze elements of their sound almost entirely (as well as Sara Monetjo). MCA released the band's sophomore record, "No Return In The End", in 1994 to little fanfare, at a time when the world was a bit preoccupied with another band named after a smashing orange food.

Instead of the shoegaze of earlier releases, "No Return In The End" took a more straight forward alternative rock approach. The band even enlisted Jack Endino, producer for Nirvana, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, etc., for the record. Still present, however, are the 60s psychedelic influences of their early material - at points sounding not unlike revivalists such as The Dandy Warhols. And though the album is long out of print, you can still find the music video for the album's lead single,"The Way That I Love You", on the iTunes store (and unfortunately not on YouTube). Smashing Orange split not too long after this record, but an anthology of the band's early UK-only releases was compiled by Elephant Stone records in 2005. Following the dissolution of Smashing Orange, Montejo formed Love American Style, a band that built on his previous work while adding an almost brit-pop sensibility. Love American Style released one brilliant and criminally overlooked record, 1997's "Undo" on Oxygen records. After a not-so-brief disappearance, Montejo has returned with a new band, The Sky Drops, a duo with a sound that marks a return to the shoegaze of his early career.

Listen @ iLike
Buy @ Amazon