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“Behind the Wall of Sleep”

Posted by purplemary54 on November 16, 2013

Do you like the Smithereens?  Do you even know who the Smithereens are?

The Smithereens played good solid Rock music.  They had all the traditional influences of bands from their time (the Beatles, the Byrds, and the rest of the zoo), but they never quite sounded like any of them.  This is not a bad thing.

Their signature sound is almost kind of Grunge-y, you know, before Grunge even existed.  The guitars and bass are heavy, just a little fuzzed out.  The music rumbles, but is never ponderous.  The lyrics are both accessible and obscure.  It’s easy to understand the plight of the lovelorn guy in the song, but you might not get his references.  (In case you were wondering, this is Jeannie Shrimpton, an English model and actress from the 60s.  And here’s Bill Wyman playing bass.  I hope that clears things up.)  They were like hipsters before they had their own Wikipedia page.  Before Wikipedia even existed.

The Smithereens were both ahead and behind themselves in time.  They were an anachronism.  I still can’t quite place them anywhere.  The fact that they had their commercial success in the 80s while their music and look was influenced by the 60s, and that they still sound brand new proves that time really is an illusion.  I suppose the only thing that matters is what you do with it, and the Smithereens knew exactly how to play with it.


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