Spinal Columns Music Reviews - November 1, 1997

Review of Second Hand Smoke

RECORDING: Second-Hand Smoke
LABEL : MCA/ Gasoline Alley
PLAYERS: Brad Nowell: vocals, guitar, keyboards/ Eric: bass/ Bud: Drums/ Isaiah Owens: keyboards/ Tim Wu: saxophone/ Miguel: guitar, vocals/ Field Marshall: turntables, programming, drums/ Billy Wilson: percussion/ Gwen Stefani: vocals/ DJ Product: turntables
PRODUCERS: Miguel, Paul Leary, The Field Marshall, Sublime, Brad Nowell, Sean Perry, and Jez Colin

Second-hand Smoke is definitely not an album for everyone. For the Sublime fan, it's a pleasant, if not necessary, addition to any Sublime collection. For the non-fan, it's way too inconsistent. Second-hand Smoke is basically a rarities package with material including unreleased tracks, remixes, and demos. That alone is information enough that the album is really for fans only. By no means does the album suck, but it is really choppy. There's absolutely no fluidity to it. Unlike their remarkable album, Sublime, Second-hand Smoke only delivers a few real gems.

The remixes of "Doin' Time" are solid, but the Wyclef Jean version on the CD single is superior. "Saw Red" will only excite people with a Gwen Stefani/No Doubt fixation (she sings with Brad on the track). However, the best tune on Second-hand Smoke is Sublime's stripped-down cover of Bob Marley's "Trenchtown Rock". The rest of the album is interesting, but not nearly powerful enough to rank among Sublime's better material. Definitely approach with caution, but you may be pleasantly surprised.

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