Miles of Rope
Label: Sister Spirit Lifter
On United We Stand, singer and songwriter Shawn Smith keeps on doing his low-key thing: a moody-dude blend of classic-rock forms slathered in an array of modern varnishes. Though the veteran Seattle artist has never achieved fame equal to that of his bandmate Stone Gossard, his sound is quite elemental in the way it reflects the influence '70s-era funk and soul exerted on grunge's earliest progenitors (see Mother Love Bone). Brad like to jam at times, but they're best as balladeers. "Make the Pain Go Away" and "Needle and Thread" are fine examples of Smith's introspective vocal style.