Smash Fashion – Blame It On the Brandy

Smash Fashion is a retro rock outfit from Los Angeles with a sound that’s a dandified confection of ‘70s bubble-glitter, power-pop and classic arena rock. The band is led by Roger Deering, a formidable singer/guitarist who possesses the presence of an ageless vintage rock front man. Deering is backed by Lloyd Stuart Casson, a lead guitarist with a Gibson Flying V and a style that recalls iconic players such as Mick Taylor, Mick Ronson, and Brian May. Bassist Nigel Mogg and drummer Reijo Kauppila form Smash Fashion’s pumping powerhouse rhythm section. The band is a live favorite around L.A. and has even made a foray across the pond to play shows at the Cavern in Liverpool and the Bull and Gate in London.

The group’s latest single, “Blame It On the Brandy” kicks off with an opening guitar riff and drum beat straight out of Slade’s “Gudby t’Jane.” The song, a cautionary tale of binge drinking gone astray, features Casson weaving Bolan-boogie-inspired guitar leads, while Deering and the rest of the band lay down the song’s foot-tapping verses and infectiously hooky choruses with a suitably Rod-Stewart-and-the-Faces level of bravado. Little touches like handclaps and falsetto background vocals help maintain the authentic glitter-rock vibe while Deering struts in front of the mic, delivering a straight-ahead rock vocal performance a la Eric Carmen or Phil Lynott. Behind him, the rhythm section kicks up a driving riotous wave of rock, with Kauppila’s big arena drum sound and Mogg’s pulsating bass line providing the groovy framework. When all is said and done, “Blame It On the Brandy” comes out sounding rather like a Chinn and Chapman production involving Thin Lizzy and the Raspberries.

The B-side “Marionette” is more of a power-popper and slightly less Anglo-sized than the A-side; sounding almost more like the Replacements or Big Star than the Sweet or Mott the Hoople. “Marionette” is also more anthemic than the swaggering A-side, with more great falsetto backing vocals, and an ascending and descending guitar jam Brian May would surely have approved of. “Marionette” was recorded once before, for a previous release. However this more complete version lends a nice counterbalance to the Stonesy bravado of the A-side as Smash Fashion demonstrate their knack for also being able to deliver straight ahead power pop, injected with arena rock sensibilities.

“Blame It On the Brandy” is available as a limited edition seven-inch on Smash Fashion’s own oh-so-aptly-named label, Electric Pudding Records. It was produced not by Chin and Chapman but by Deering and Casson, and features cover art that looks as if it was inspired by Terry Gilliam’s animations from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. With only 300 copies having been pressed, “Blame It On the Brandy” is currently available as a vinyl-only limited-edition single from CD Baby and at record stores around L.A.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Album Name: Blame It On the Brandy
Date Released: 2011
Genres: Glam Rock, Classic Rock, Power Pop
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Band Members: Roger Deering, Stu Casson, Nigel Mogg, Reijo Kauppila

Alex Baker

About Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a journalist, blogger and musician who lives in downtown Los Angeles. He began his writing career as a music journalist in San Francisco. However over the years he has branched out and currently writes about soccer, martial arts, travel and technology among other things.

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