• Smile
  • Marquee (Headhunter/Cargo) 1994  (Headhunter/Atlantic) 1995 
  • Girl Crushes Boy (Headhunter/Cargo) 1998 

While it’s unlikely a power trio from the vast sprawl of Orange County, California (Tustin, to be precise), can change the rock landscape one iota, you can’t blame the dry-humored Smile for trying. “Before we start/I’d like to say that we’re all done,” winks singer/guitarist Mike Rosas on Maquee‘s fuzzadelic first track, “Rock Anthem for the Retarded Teenage Hipster Population,” before continuing, “Remember what we started for/Remember it was fun.” Fun it is. The eleven-track disc (reissued intact by Atlantic) boasts frenetic post-punk gems packed with gritty swagger (“Staring at the Sun…”), sunny melodies (“Spud Gun,” “Moosh,” “Jack Shrimp,” “Until (?)”) and mature percussive surprises (“Picture Made Past”). Comparisons to Nirvana are not misplaced, as Rosas’ crackling guitar and wry lyrics are bolstered by the substantial rhythmic talents of drummer Scott Reeder and bassist Aaron Sonnenberg. A potent debut.

[Mark Woodlief]