The Smithereens: B-Sides the Beatles

Dave Medsker wrote the following about the Smithereens’ initial Fab Four cover record (2007’s Meet The Smithereens): “Pat Dinizio has always worn his love for the Beatles on his sleeve (the band did a fab cover of Ringo’s “It Don’t Come Easy” back in 1991), but no one is going to mistake his singing for that of Paul McCartney or John Lennon, and that is the biggest problem with Meet the Smithereens.” Well, fast forward to 2008 and the newest Smithereens’ Fab Four cover record, B-Sides the Beatles, and nothing has changed, really. The boys do a great job of re-creating the vibe and sound of the early Beatles catalog, but Dinizio’s voice just doesn’t do the songs justice (Dennis Diken sings lead on “Slow Down”). I love Dinizio’s vocals in general, but not for these songs; they just don’t fit. The band gives a little more crunch to songs like “You Can’t Do That” and “Some Other Guy” but the only thing this album does is make you want to listen to the originals, not these covers. The Smithereens couldn’t resist the modest commercial success and critical buzz that the 2007 record achieved and went to the well one more time (off the back of a Christmas record with only three seasonal originals). Here is an idea: how about an original Smithereens record? They haven’t produced a new disc of Smithereens’ material since 1999’s overwhelmingly mediocre God Save the Smithereens. This is the band that produced great records like Green Thoughts and Especially for You. There has to be more in them than just becoming a Beatles tribute act. Competent, yes the album is competent and the art is cool and the liner notes informative, but exciting, or thrilling…not so much. (Koch)

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