Album Review: Smudge – This Smudge is True (2010 LP)


Sydney indie darlings Smudge may never have been a
commercial success, but they were definitely quiet achievers. During
the ’90s, they were regular fixtures in local live music venues, and
their plethora of singles, EPs and albums have since become staples
in any Sydney music punter’s record collection.

In 2006 one of those albums, Manilow, was re-released to
commemorate its 10 year anniversary as the band were gigging and
picking up steam again, and reminded punters, young and not-so-young,
of their existence. Now almost 20 years since they were first formed
comes what could loosely be described as a Smudge best-of. Continuing
with their penchant for awesomely named releases, This Smudge is
(see what they did there?) is a concise and compilation of
tracks spanning the band’s entire career.

The songs retain their wonderfully lo-fi, raw quality and serve as
fond reminders of a great era in local music; the album only scrapes the
surface of the band’s history, but it captures some of the band’s
most quintessential moments. Encapsulating the band at its arguable
peak, the record begins with the single “Don’t Wanna Be Grant
McLennan” and travels through their career, from “Ingrown”
and the Evan Dando-endorsed “The Outdoor Type” through to
their later singles “Eighteen in a Week” and “Real
McCoy, Wrong Sinatra”. This Smudge is True is not just a
hallmark of one of Sydney’s best bands – the catchy, cleverly penned
pop-perfect songs will also transport you back to the ’90s.

The band were always known (and loved) for their cheek and sense
of humour, and among some of their better named songs (“Mike
Love Not War”, “Impractical Joke”) on the disc are a
selection of well known ‘short’ songs, including the 13-second
“Babaganouj”. But the real treat in this release is the
sleeve art, which features, between the media portfolio and
memorabilia, commentary on the songs from main members Alison
Galloway, Tom Morgan and Adam Yee, and a concise bio of the band and
its members.

Smudge may be one of the more forgotten legacies of the
underground music scene from the ’90s, but This Smudge is True is a
fine reminder of their significance. Word is they’re working on a new
album and I for one am excited to see this band re-emerge again.

Review score: 8/10