WL//WH New Music: THE SMASHING TIMES “Mother Nature Is Son”


Unfortunately, it does not happen often, but sometimes for some seemingly unfathomable reason, while listening to the music of a few bands you feel that you have always shared intense passions, never dormant loves and above all simple elective affinities, dating back to your formative years.

In the early-mid 90s, I used to hang around a curious record shop in London’s Notting Hill, informally known as “the two Bills”, split down the middle due to the two owners’ fell-out, previously called Plastic Passions to be accurate.

Despite its odd, to say the least, opening timetable, for someone like me, despite coming from the industrial city par excellence of Northern Italy, it was a sort of a dizzying vinyl nirvana where it was possible to find, incredibly at a fair price, records I assumed a real chimera at least in my surroundings.

Starting with the freakadelic volumes “Chocolate Soup for Diabetics”, to the seminal compilation Whaam! Records’ “All For Art … And Art For All!” and the tasty Modernist debuts from Direct Hits and The Times respectively on Whaam! again and Pop Goes Arts labels, all records that, going from the 60s of the Standells, The Byrds, Love, Tomorrow, Creation or Big Star, through the ramshackle freak punk of The Swell Maps and the dazed jangle-pop of Felt and The Pastels, with the addition of dazzled lysergic sunrays from the Pasley Underground, certainly all of this have defined a good part of the songwriting by the psychedelic freakbeat combo from a Baltimore basement, The Smashing Times.

Already greatly intrigued by last November’s double-A side “Dreams on Union B/W A Changing Letter”, Maryland’s five-piece infuse a beautiful 60s-inspired flair into their latest single/video, “Mother Nature is Son”, to give us a taste of what’s to come in their forthcoming 13-track album “Bloom”, scheduled for release on October 28, 2022, via Spanish independent label Meritorio Records.

Who knows why when I listen to a tune rife with groovy, timeless jangly retro vibes, springs to mind the little overlooked gem from 1986 “Going Her Own Way” by Swedish garage rock rockers The Backdoor Men, which a few years later, as The Creeps, will churn out a fantastic soulful Hammond-organ fueled sophomore LP, “Now Dig This!”, ala The Prisoners, both records absolutely to be rediscovered, likewise “Mother Nature Is Son” sways nostalgically along, jam-packed with the melodious wistful jangling chimes of sparkling 12-string guitars and energetic shimmering strums, to weave longing, heartache, and melancholy around intense aching and brooding vocal harmonies, shedding pain and sorrow into a humming undertow of low pulsing bass lines, tinny tambourine rattles, and soft thumping drum beats, to create a sullen sentimental reverie about man’s reluctance to protect mother earth.

The vibrant, vintage-tinged video, by Exde Ecce, frames colourful hand-painted floral and magic mushroom motifs around a backyard garden guitar session, taking the viewer back in time to the peace-loving era of love and harmony. Mother Nature’s beautiful Spring hues blend seamlessly with lyrical themes whilst dream catchers, crafty wind mobiles, and a curious cat conjure sunny, hippy daydreams from the mind’s eye of modern dystopic visions.

The Smashing Times‘ forthcoming new album, “Bloom”, is scheduled for release, in Vinyl (plus ‘zine) and Digital formats, on October 28th via Meritorio Records. On pre-order right now on the label’s Bandcamp.

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The Smashing Times by Smith and Lipton