Island Mele: ‘Cretin Crossover’

Jun. 21, 2013 | 0 Comments

REVIEW BY JOHN BERGER / jberger@staradvertiser.com

‘Cretin Crossover’

The Smitz (Audio Bento)

Give it up for The Smitz! The quartet — Johnny Random (guitar/vocals), Taylor Rice (bass), Brennen Widget (drums) and Kalani Punani (guitar) — has all the tools needed to break out big here, be next year’s Best Rock Album winner at the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards and blow up nationally.

Random, the group’s resident lyricist, has wide-ranging interests. His lyrics comment on the local alt-rock scene, political and economic oppression here and nationally, problematic relationships, alienation from society, the importance of unity in the struggle for a better future, and the mindless prejudice against Caucasians in Hawaii — “… the people that you see that represent bigotry/Are white men from another century,” he reminds the racists in a song titled “Hate Against.”

The album is equally diverse in the musical genres represented in it. The 17 songs pull together various combinations of punk rock, metal, reggae, ska and surf rock. The Smitz do well with all of them.

Lyrics, very important in this type of music, are sometimes unintelligible in live performance. The Smitz include them in the liner notes booklet along with production credits, thanks yous, and provocative artwork.

“Wooly Wooly,” the final song listed, captures the innocent sound of the Top 40 hits of the early 1960s. It’s a gem. The rambling monologues that begin playing several minutes after the end of “Wooly Wooly” — apparently the thoughts of a cretin who hasn’t “crossed over” yet — are not.
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John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for more than 40 years. Contact him via email at jberger@staradvertiser.com.

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