Definitely have a Smoke!
smac29 | San Francisco, CA United States | 12/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Coming off the success of 1990's metallic Fly Me Courageous, which included two FM and MTV hits, Drivin' 'n' Cryin' returned in 1993 with Smoke, another collection of heavy, riff-oriented songs. Although both records were produced and engineered by Geoff Workman, Smoke had a less-polished, raw feel that should have fit right in to the new post-grunge world. But, as they'd done on many prior albums, they (or the label) made a horrible choice for the first single, the uninspired "Turn It Up Or Turn It Off," and the album never took off.Which is a shame. While not as lyrically strong as prior albums, Smoke still contains some great songs; meaty riffs on insanely heavy opener "Back Against The Wall," the driving title track, the soulful "Whiskey Soul Woman" and Zep-homage "All Around The World."And while the album is pretty heavy as a whole, fans of the band's lighter (crying) side will find some nice stuff here as well: the haunting dirge "When You Come Back," the wistful feedback of "What's The Difference?" and the slowly building Civil War epic "Patron Lady Beautiful."Lead singer and songwriter Kevn Kinney has dismissed Smoke as too riff happy, and says he wrote the words to fit the riffs instead of the other way around, but it's still a classic album from one of rock's most underrated bands. Light it up."
Backs against the wall . . .
L. B. Wisner | Knoxville, TN | 06/22/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As mosh-pit success loomed ever closer for dnc, Island Records pushed them into this riff-heavy follow up to regional smash "Fly Me Courageous." The resulting affair continues the trend toward AC/DC-style brain-pounding rock that had begun with "Malfunction Junction" on the "Mystery Road" album. While the band owes debts to the Stooges, the MC5, the Dictators, other heavy bands from the 70s, much of "Smoke" veers too close to the spandex sounds of the 1980s. Tracks such as "She Doesn't Wanna Go" and "1000 Swings" sell the band short of their nouveau-Crazy Horse potential. Only half of the songs, including "Turn it Up or Turn it Off," "What's the Difference," or "Eastern European Carny Man" does the Georgia quartet remind us what kind of band they had been. The album failed to "break" dnc to a nationwide audience, but it did "break" them with Island and with guitarist Buren Fowler. When dnc returned after "Smoke," they steered as far away from the hard rock excesses as possible. For an interesting comparison, listen to frontman Kevn Kinney's 1994 solo album "Down Out Law," which showcases a number of songs squeezed from "Smoke" to make room for more head-banging."