on June 17, 2006
What convinced me to by this album was the song "Lord Let Me Live Again". I am not into organized religion, and not religious at all really, but something really struck me about that song. It reminds me of some of my other favorite artists who write about religion and spirituality but never shove it down your throat, it is just there at times. The other thing I like about this album is the interesting mix of sounds, besides the usual guitar, bass and drums there are so many other unique sounds like flutes, mandolins, acordian, marimba and more. This is a good trip from start to finish. I would consider Smoke Ring Days to be good songwriters, the material here is quite good. I really like songs that make powerful statements. Listen to "August Sun" and "Darkness on the Land" - powerful stuff to say the least. It is obvious these people create soulful poetic music deep from within their souls. A real treat to the senses.
on April 28, 2006
What really strikes me about this band is the meaningful songs they write. Take "Sleeping With Open Eyes" a song about the cold war or "Darkness on the Land" a song about the struggles of Native American people or "Lord Let Me Live Again" a song about spiritual awakening. These are all well thought out lyrical and musical ideas. I am a fan of mostly folk-rock and although Smoke Ring Days have a much heavier sound they both write great songs with great lyrics. Smoke Ring Days at times remind me a little of old U2, the same urgent passion of a band really giving it all they've got just to get heard. I think they have succeded, because this is a really good CD. I purchased this CD because of the mp3 of "Sleeping with Open Eyes" I got from Pitchfork Magazine and I was very impressed. if you like powerful and passionate music you will most likely enjoy this album, they Have a lot to say.
on August 21, 2005
The thing I really like about independent music is that you can hear some good music that hasn't been played to death. The problem is trying to find it. A lot of the so called "indie" music is not much more than someone screaming into a microphone and playing a few chords. Most of these people either have no talent or are just not ready to make a record. Since home recording is cheap and easy and digital distribution is also easy, there is a glut of junk you have to look through to find something good. One of the better bands I found recently is Smoke Ring Days. What really makes this band worthwhile is the fact that they can write a song and are half way decent musicians. To me, the heart of any album is the quality of the songs--there are a few good ones here. I think the production could use some work though. In this day and age, you usually don't hear people write songs with any kind of real meaning; they bring me back to a time when lyrics really mattered. A lot of the songs here address various social and political issues a lot of people would be clueless about. It is nice to hear music not aimed at 12 year olds. The fact that no big record company or big budget is involved is very impressive. I hope they get more popular.
on August 27, 2005
I have always enjoyed music that is fronted by a female voice. Some of my favorite music has been by Patti Smith, Grace Slick, Chrissie Hynde and Stevie Nicks (just to name a few). Over the years, the genre seems to have split into either the loud tuneless punk variety or the singer/songwriter that needs a shot of Geritol variety to kick start it. So few seem to be doing any good solid rock music with any thought behind it. One of the few bands that fits this bill is Smoke Ring Days. A band that creates music that moves your heart, mind and soul all at the same time. One of the other reviews called them the thinking-person's band; I would say that is a perfect description. The fact that they are only known to a small sophisticated audience says something right there. This is the best album to start with since it has most of the classic songs on one album. Truly a great album by a great band.
on October 26, 2005
I remember when I first heard this album, playing at a local radio station when it first came out, and a thing that struck me was how well it sounded as a whole. As opposed to many albums that are one or two good songs sprinkled among the song filler. It's hard to pick a "best" song on the album, but my favourites have to be the powerful and lyrical "The Healing Time" and true and moving, "Darkness on the Land". Their hearts are certainly in all of the songs, and it shows. The digital remastering is a bonus. There are some diffrent songs on this U.S. version where is "Frontline", one of the best songs is missing.
on October 10, 2005
This really is a very good album, filled with depth and passion and shaped by one of music's most distinct, compelling voices. I actually bought this album long ago, before I had even heard any of their music. The name of the group had a certain appeal to me, and there is something about the cover that drew me to it. Of course, what matters here is really the music, and I think this album reveals the very heart and soul of Smoke Ring Days. Not yet superstars, all of the musicians poured copious amounts of passion into each and every song, making this music both incredibly enchanting to the ears and compelling to the heart and mind. The voices are a beacon of soul-seeking enlightenment themes most artists (as well as most people) often shy away from. For example, Darkness on the Land focuses on Native America, Sleeping With Open Eyes addresses trust and the Cold War, and Lord, Let Me Live Again is a plaintive lament for a world in which spiritual comfort is needed. The Healing Time, my favorite, is a song about the personal frustration in a person, and it expresses such passion and joy in the prospect of learning that it could well serve as the de facto theme song for any adult recovery program. Daydream Tomorrows, quite simply, hauntingly beautiful. It is unfortunate that the group's cover of Ian Hunter's All of the Good Ones Are Taken was removed from the origonal release and put on the Sins of Commission CD because I like it a lot, certainly as much as the original.
on September 25, 2005
I found this CD by chance and it turned out to be a real treat. I have been collecting music for a long time and have come to a point where there is not much new music left for me to buy. It seems as though most new music from the past decade is geared toward quick and easy sales. I am from an era where music had some meaning as well as talent. While searching for something new, I read some reviews and lists here and thought I would give this a try. I agree with most of the other reviews of this album. I find the songs well written and performed. I like the fact that some of the songs address various social topics. "Darkness on the Land" is my favorite song on this CD, a moving song about Native America. "Sleeping with Open Eyes" is also a great song, that deals with trust and the Cold War. One of the other reviews said that this is a thinking persons band, and that these are the kind of songs Neil Young would write, I agree with that. If this were a different time this would be an extremely popular and radio classic album.
on May 25, 2005
I got into this band because a friend of mine (who seems to know everything about every band) gave me a copy of Neil Young's 'Freedom' and Smoke Ring Days 'Simple Dreams' for my birthday. I never heard of Smoke Ring Days before, but this is really a great album (better than the Freedom album although Neil has a lot of great albums to choose from). Every song is very memorable with a lot of insight into various social and emotional topics. This album really rocks at times, but also has its share of delicate moments (Daydream Tomorrows is a really nice ballad). My favorite song from this album is Darkness on the Land which appears to be about the plight of Native America. Actually some of the songs on this album are a bit like Crazy Horse songs. After listening to this CD for a few weeks, I got the other two albums.
on June 26, 2005
To put it simply, this is a good album. This album covers a lot of musical ground. The band manages to combine the classic hard rock stylings with softer, more folk-oriented ones. This makes for a listening experience that is good from start to finish. The first two Euro-hits that the band scored, Sleeping with Open Eyes and In Other Lives, can be found on this LP. But, as with most bands, there are many equally-good songs that aren't as popular. A good example of this is the bluesy rocker, Baby Don't You Follow. One of the really good soft tracks the album has to offer is the sorely-underrated Daydream Tomorrows. But my favorite here would have to be Darkness on the Land, a powerful political statement on Native America, which is divided into three, continuous parts that bring it to a huge climax.
on December 18, 2005
When I first heard "Sleeping with Open Eyes" on the radio years back, I could tell just from this one song that this band were intelligent, wise, and talented. I was not disappointed when I brought the CD home. Every single song on this disc is relatively good and should be given a chance by the public. What you get here are 13 intelligent, tuneful songs that mix folk and rock without being pretentious about it. The intellect that underscores this album is more basic than the kind that's flaunted in an attempt to get critical praise and "indie" popularity. This album should have had more attention given to it.