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Now We're Even

Smart Went Crazy

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Album Review

This 1996 release from the militantly independent Washington, D.C. label follows much of the formula that has made the Dischord label popular. Smart Went Crazy use the highly rhythmic song structures embraced by such bands as Fugazi and Jawbox (utilizing details such as walking basslines, tight drumming, guitar tones, and creative use of feedback, for example). What sets them apart from their D.C. brethren, however, is the use of prominent string parts courtesy of backing vocalist Hilary Soldati, rockabilly guitar lines, and very direct lyrics ("Honey, honey, there's sugar in your gas tank"). At times the album can come across sounding like Jawbox, other times like Goo-era Sonic Youth (Chad Clark's vocals on "I Liked You Better When You Were Sick" have the same delivery as a midtempo Thurston Moore tune). Overall, the album will not disappoint fans of the label, and is a good introduction for those unaware of what's happening on Washington D.C.'s most famous punk export. The compact disc version of this album also includes The Royal We EP.

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Washington DC

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

Easily the most cynical of the D.C. Dischord bands, Smart Went Crazy combine the Psychedelic Furs-like ironic and honest portraits of their surrounding scene with well-orchestrated, edgy punk in the vein of Shudder to Think. The band started as a studio project with Chad Clark (vox, guitar, piano), Abram Goodrich (bass), and Hilary Soldati (vox, cello) and added Tony Dennison on drums to record the Cubbyhole EP released on their own label Cozy Disc. They began playing live shows as a quintet with...
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Now We're Even, Smart Went Crazy
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