By the end of the 1970s, Smokie seemed more or less spent as a serious commercial force, although they continued racking up the hit singles, sporadically at home and consistently in Germany. This album, however, caught them during one of their fallow patches, midway between the peaks of "Mexican Girl" and "Take Good Care of My Baby," and it was very easy to overlook it entirely. Easy, but wrong. The Other Side of the Road is actually one of Smokie's stronger latter-day albums, 13 songs that can best be compared to the sound of the Searchers, if they'd relocated to the mid-'70s Hotel California. Melody and texture dominate, with Chris Norman's vocals sounding sadder and more soulful than ever before, even on the handful of songs whose intent is clearly somewhat lighter-hearted. ~ Dave Thompson
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