• 6.5/10
    TED POLEY - Smile - 6.5/10


Frontiers Records
Release date: October 19, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

It’s been over a year and a half since ex-Danger Danger vocalist Ted Poley released his last solo album. Even though eighteen months might seem like a lifetime between releases for Poley fans, it’s actually a blessing in disguise. His previous work, Collateral Damage, filled a void of a four year gap between his prior recordings. Hopefully this means Poley is getting into a steady, consistent recording/writing groove regarding new solo material!

Smile brings with it many things: a new label, a new backing band, more nicely done cover artwork, and some speculation. Unfortunately, what it doesn’t bring is the same volume of solid Hard Rock as Collateral Damage did. From end to end Smile treads even closer to the AOR line than it does the Hard Rock genre. The other unfortunate is that the truly memorable, sparkling melodies and catchy choruses are fewer and farther between on this release than Poley fans might expect or had hoped. What happens is that the release takes a few spins to create any sense of desire as far as re-playability is concerned.

Case in point, the opener “Waiting Line” is quite a memorable AOR-ish track with some backbone, which ends up creating a truly positive opening vibe and first impression. “Going Blind,” on the other hand, follows with a more commercial feel and a greater focus on keyboards. “Going Blind” isn’t a poor track, it’s just not as memorable as the tracks it’s sandwiched between. It’s successor track, the title track for example, delivers in spades with a strong melody and memorable hook line. “What If She Knew” is a tough one to gauge as well since it seems to have the potential to hook the listener but manages not to get over the “hump.” Another highlight is the track with the longest title of perhaps any song in 2007 … “If I Can’t Change Your Heart (Then Let Me Blow Your Mind).” This track should be a diecast template for future “Poley Gold” … solid beat, strong melody, memorable chorus, ever-present guitar, and Ted belts out the vocals no less.

Bottom line, if the words “melody,” “hook line,” and “keyboards” get you all queasy, than this release won’t be for you. For the tepid Poley fan or the fan “rediscovering” Ted Poley, than Collateral Damage comes with a higher recommendation. Overall it’s not a terrible outing, and it certainly isn’t Danger Danger, it’s just not as consistent and memorable from end to end as Poley is capable of delivering. Fortunately, if Ted is back in the fold with respect to recording, then fans can look forward to more material!


Ted Poley – Vocals
JK Northrup – Guitars, Bass
Dan Zoid – Drums, Percussion
Eric Ragno – Keyboards


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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