This is a reprint of a review that originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer.
Dennis Diken has been drumming with The Smithereens for over two decades, but Bell Sound, the side project he created with fellow New Jersey native Pete DiBella, frequently sounds more like The Wondermints. Nicky Walusko and Probyn Gregory from The Wondermints, the band that backed Brian Wilson on his recent tours, are guest musicians on a couple of tracks. The question is whether they influenced Diken during the recording of Late Music, or if he already had a particular sound in mind and recruited Walusko and Gregory to help make it a reality.
The gorgeously arranged “Standing In Line” and seductive “Temptation Cake,” both of which feature DiBella on lead vocal and piano, evoke Pet Sounds era Beach Boys. Diken sings lead on the other 11 impossibly catchy tracks and he creates some well-crafted harmonies with DiBella, Walusko, and Gregory. “Let Your Loved One Sleep” offers some fun early morning romance while “Lost Bird” is a fable set to 1960s style lounge music. “The Sun’s Gonna Shine In The Morning” and “Don’t Let Me Sleep Too Long” are energetic tracks that proudly carry on The Smithereens tradition.