It might sound severe to call The Smithereens' recent comeback album, Meet the Smithereens!, a gratuitous act of marketing nostalgia. But severe is only a harsh descriptor until you've endured the band's Fab Four cloning, precise and complete with a video of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" starring bobble-headed Smithereen dolls. How far the power-popsters have fallen can be measured by their string of late-'80s singles, which were so sweetly out-of-sync with college radio and so irresistibly jingly, yet so eternally moody and teen. On the Smithereens' best songs "Only a Memory," "Blood and Roses," "Girl Like You" and "In a Lonely Place" singer Pat DiNizio sounded like his hero Elvis Costello, only more resigned, and found bittersweet consolation in fuzzed-up Rickenbackers and Bacharachian melodies. Here's hoping the band's two nights in St. Louis will be the true comeback.
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