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Smash Hits
Artist: All Star United
Label: Essential
Length: 15 tracks/52.49 minutes

The age old problem of "best of" releases has finally been solved. And we have Essential Records to thank. In fact, they've also saved All Star United the headaches of making that always difficult third album. To top it all off, this is a very strong release.

A number of record labels have recently been trimming their rosters, and sadly the crazy power-poppers known as All Star United have come under Essential's knife. To complete their contract, Essential have released this "best of", bringing together the strongest tracks from the band's two albums. It certainly means that almost everyone's favorites are included, and there are two new tracks and a new mix to make sure that this isn't a project that could be replicated at home with one of those ever more common CDRs.

The end result is a fantastic collection. Lots of those power-pop hooks and satirical lyrics which have endeared All Star United to fans across the world, a couple of laid-back stops for breath, and the band's tribute to 40s swing ("Hurricane Baby"). The two new tracks don't have quite the distinctive melodic feel of the band's strongest pieces, but they've been polished up quite a bit since they debuted them live in December and "Baby Come Back" in particular could well be a hit with fans. And it's all topped off with an acoustic rendition of "Saviour of My Universe".

A strong set of songs, a good introduction to the band, but somewhat lacking in the album sleeve department, and released to appease record execs. This album's something of a paradox. But if you do want an introduction to the band, check it out, and then prepare for the full assault when they find the mainstream label of their dreams.

James Stewart 5/28/2000

Track List:

Smash Hit (1)
Bright Red Carpet (1)
Saviour of My Universe (1)
Beautiful Thing (1)
Tenderness (1)
Welcome To Our Big Rock Show (2)
Superstar (2)
Theme From Summer (2)
Thank you, goodnight (2)
Popular Americans (2)
If We Were Lovers (2)
Hurricane Baby (2)
Hang On (new)
Baby Come Back (new)
Saviour of my Universe (acoustic mix)

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