"The problem with Copacetic was the dingy production, so for Simpatico, Velocity Girl hooks up with the Smiths' first LP producer John Porter. Flaw corrected. Perhaps too much? Some have expressed the opinion that Porter has neutered them somewhat, and indeed, the rawer edges have largely been relinquished, but so what? They sound great now, much tighter, more convincing, more together. Constant touring has obviously toughened and synchronized them, so credit them for a lot of thankless, hard work. Simpatico, at the least, is a three-times-better version of their first LP, which is the small flaw now -- they don't seem to have enlarged their scope much, still clinging to the chiming guitar version of the Wedding Present meets the Shangri-La's they started with long ago -- remember when My Forgotten Favorite was on so many of our turntables? And the problem with narrow scopes is that some of the songs just aren't going to click as much as the better versions of the same thing. But if they aren't going to change their sound, or to a lesser extent, their style; at least they can keep getting better at it, and that is the case, so there are more big delights. "Drug Girls" has a sharp chorus, and the best song, "Rubble," adds a New Order bass and acoustic. "Hey You, Get Off My Moon" at least attempts a slow ballad, and "What You Left Behind" and the single "Sorry Again" are big-time hooky. Porter seems to have worked Sarah Shannon into singing stronger and more firmly. It's time to move on, but for now, there's plenty to enjoy. "