Smoke This

Lynch Mob

Koch Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I don't think I've ever heard so much about a specific album prior to hearing it than I did going into Smoke This, the latest offering from Lynch Mob. More specifically, I had to block from my mind the fact that everything I had heard about this album was painfully bad.

So, into the annex of the Pierce Memorial Archives went I (actually, into the bedroom, as the missus was watching television in the living room) with the disc in hand, and I emerged an hour later, saying only... "What a piece of shit!" With one exception, Smoke This is a disc that is destined for a date with the cutout bins.

Think about it, this title opens itself to a flood of opening lines I could make about the latest outing from former Dokken guitarist George Lynch. Sure, I thought of using a line like, "George, what were you smoking when you recorded this crap?" Or I could have made a comment about what I thought of the disc once the smoke cleared. Nah, that's too easy - besides, it ain't fun hunting wounded prey. So we'll discuss this like civilized people... then we'll throw the carcass to the jackals.

(Just a side note... anyone notice that one of the symbols on the cover art of Smoke This looks like a mirror image of a symbol used by a group whose views are, aah, not so nice? Just an observation.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I can sympathize with Lynch, in some regards. He's been seen as the guitar god, "Mr. Scary," for so many years, and he's tired of the whole scene. He wants to try his hand at something new. Fine; I have no problems with that.

Problem number one: Lynch chooses to use the "Lynch Mob" moniker. Fine, I know it's his... but he should have recognized that he was going to disappoint a lot of fans expecting to hear the next Wicked Sensation.

Problem number two: Lynch disposes with the world of metal and goes instead with a half-hearted, half-assed mixture of weak hard rock and ganster wanna-be rap. Again, I understand that Lynch needed a change in his musical routine. But why would he dive headfirst into a rap-rock collaboration without first checking if there was any water in the pool?

The results, as you can imagine, are disastrous. Granted, the rythmic backbone of Gabe Rosales on bass and Clancy McCarthy on drums have their contributions overlooked as a result of the whole stew; they deserve some recognition for trying to pull off a decent performance. But from the opening notes of "World Spinning Away," you can hear the collective voice of the audience saying, "Uh-oh."

Kirk Harper bounces around the CD tossing out rhymes like he's the next Zack De La Rocha. Kirk, you're not even the next Vanilla Ice; lighten up. Lynch, for his part, still knows how to work out a somewhat tasty guitar lick or two in the rhythms, but solos? Forget about it. The solos on Smoke This are so pedestrian they sound like I could play them.

The poor tracks fall from Smoke This like mosquitoes near a bug zapper. Cuts like "Hype-O," "Playalistics," "When I Rise" and the title track all will have you looking impatiently at the counter on the CD player, wondering when this disc is going to end. Even the instrumental, "Indra's Art," falls prey to this nightmare. On the one cut where Lynch could have stepped up and saved the day, he chooses to make a noise-ridden track that would have had even Dali shake his head with disgust.

There is one saving grace on Smoke This, though - "Relaxin' In The Land Of AZ," a track that does seem to have both words and music come together in a palatable format. It's still no masterpiece, but compared to some of the shit on this disc, it looks like the "Mona Lisa".

By the way, to whoever prepared the liner notes on this disc... the word is spelled "absolutely," not "absolutley". Haven't you ever heard of a fuckin' spell checker, for Chrissakes?

Lynch seemed to say by his departure from Dokken that he no longer wanted to be seen as a guitar god. On Smoke This, he succeeds, but I don't think this is the way he wanted to prove himself right. Be sure to leave this disc a wide berth on your next excursion to the record store.

Rating: D-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Koch Records, and is used for informational purposes only.