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Smiles OK


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Audio CD, January 12, 1999
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 12, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mammouth/Pgd
  • ASIN: B00000HXF5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,173 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Dagger
2. Only Human
3. Outer Skin
4. Sweet Unknown
5. Let The Happiness In
6. Is Jesus Your Pal
7. Spider And I
8. Hanky Panky Nohow

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Fans of This Mortal Coil will be excited to learn of this project from 4AD's Ivo Watts-Russell. It's called the Hope Blister, and as with TMC, Watts-Russell is the musical director, although this time out the roster is fixed and led by vocalist Louise Rutkowski. On its debut, ...smile's ok, the group plays ethereal folk and romantic ambient pop that harks back to the early 4AD days. The Hope Blister perform eight cover tunes by the likes of David Sylvian, Heidi Berry, Alison and Jim Shaw of the Cranes, Brian Eno, John Cale, Neil Halstead of Mojave 3, Chris Knox of Tall Dwarfs, and Slow Blow, and the results are strikingly dreamy. These simple tunes are fleshed out with strong atmospheric contrasts, as when a growing wave of distorted effects washes over the stirring strings of "Spider and I" and the way trippy electric guitar wraps around the acoustic guitar of "Only Human." --Bryan Reesman

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Rafael Cova on August 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Hope Blister - two incongruously paired words, but one unified concept. Put a 'The' in front of them and you have a band.
Of sorts.
The Hope Blister began early 1997 in the fertile mind of Ivo Watts-Russell, who founded 4AD in 1980 and embarked on one of the most enterprising, beguiling journeys known to independent record labels. Traversing from The Birthday Party to The Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance to Throwing Muses, The Pixies to The Breeders, Ivo still found time to conceive This Mortal Coil, a conglomeration of musicians he'd either signed, knew or admired and a heavenly jukebox/treasure trove of his favourite songs. Ivo wasn't a musician himself, but he had this sound in his head, and with help from engineer John Fryer, he 'conducted' the players, wrote instrumental links, and came up with three acclaimed albums - 1984's It'll End In Tears, 1986's double Filigree And Shadow and 1990's Blood.
Eight years after This Mortal Coil, and five years after Ivo shifted from London to Los Angeles (4AD's base remained in London), Ivo started craving the studio again - hence The Hope Blister. The principle was the same, banding together cover versions, handpicked for their melodic ingenuity, tapping Ivo's devout love of musical melancholia, except that Ivo's chosen interpreters this time around are just a singular band of players, given a much more minimalistic brief. Louise Rutkowski (who contributed to This Mortal Coil) on vocals, Lawrence O'Keefe (ex-Levitation and currently Dark Star) on bass, Audrey Reilly on string arrangements, Ivo on spiritual guidance/production and John Fryer on mixing duties is all. Richard Thomas appears on two tracks (Hanky Panky Nohow and Sweet Unknown).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Although not as expansive as the last two This Mortal Coil releases, The Hope Blister's "smile's ok" is comparably haunting--exquisitely produced from the amazing vocals (Louise Rutkowski), string arrangements, and every other lush detail of instrumentation...anyone who has been craving new This Mortal Coil material (which will reportedly never come to be) certainly will be more than delighted with the absolute beauty of The Hope Blister's new release...it is worth many, many listenings and much respect. Kudos to Ivo, The Hope Blister, and everyone at 4ad from a devoted longtime fan!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on March 12, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Oh my god - the previous post by A music fan from College Station, TX United States hit the nail perfectly. Really.
If your adolescence was soothed by Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil (of Filigree and Shadow fame especially) and you are still a searcher ... please consider Arvo Part and Gorecki's Symphony No. 3. There you will find the true coming of age that producer Ivo hinted at in the younger mist-dimmed 4 AD days long past that Hope Blister recalls, however hazily. (The Gorecki brings bitter tears to my eyes, so I can only spin it once a year - if that! You owe it to yourself ...)
But Smile's OK is ... well, ok. For those grasping for 4 AD straws, it recalls the "music for people who don't like to go out" days of the best of the label. But it is also pungently reminiscent of the worst of the label - the adolescent self-indulgence and "drama" that the later This Mortal Coil veered toward in "Blood" and even "It'll End in Tears," some of which was brilliant - some of which was fatally self-involved. If you're just pining for the good old days of all-black wardrobes, moon-tans and cardigans (be honest now), you'd do better to re-spin "filigree and shadow" or the Twins' "Treasure" or "Victorialand." Still, I bought this album as an act of loyalty and gratitude - I love the drone of "Is Jesus Your Pal?" and the "strength of strings" in "Spider and I" (where else are you going to find songs so "It'll End in Tears" being recorded - thanks Ivo!!) and I love the melancholy guitar and processed vocals in "Sweet Unknown" - ignoring the high-schoolish premise of the song ("For a while our world seemed right...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "thesab" on February 23, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I don't have much to add to the previous reviewers, as they did a great job with describing the tracks and other details. I just wanted to agree and say that if you are a 4AD collector and have enjoyed the This Mortal Coil albums, you must get this and the additional CD "Underarms" for your collection. To me, 4AD, Ivo and the musicians that create these beautiful sounds,are the ultimate musical experience. They are timeless and I never tire of listening to them. Another CD you may track down if you have not yet is a compilation made by 4AD: "Lonely Is An Eyesore" which comprised of individual tracks from 4AD bands. There is also a videocassette by the same name, most likely hard to get by now.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 2004
Format: Audio CD
It's been a few years now since Ivo has recorded this work of art, but it still finds its way onto my stereo at least once a week, sometimes more. The balance of extreme sadness and radiant hope is what all new music composers should strive for, but few succeed.
This album is as brilliant as David Sylvian's "Gone To Earth" and Joy Division's "Closer". Hi art (although in a somewhat gray scale) at its best.
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