My deluded mind had Smith Westerns classified as an ‘Americana’ unit, but a little research reveals that these Chicago youngsters have been mining the garage rock vein. Digging around on my hard drive, I found a few tracks off of their previous album, which are full of intuitive fuzziness and ‘lo-fi’ pop hooks; quite impressive for a bunch of kids who can’t legally buy booze. Their new album, Dye It Blond, however, is a collection of expertly crafted, albeit somewhat straightforward, indie rock songs. The entire album is well-polished, with a very clean, almost surreal production quality (think Evangelicals, Evening Descends, minus the ‘freaky’ element). Singer Cullen Omari has a limited vocal range, but he uses his voice as appropriate accompaniment for the rich, vibrant song textures laid down by the band, and when they mash a guitar pedal, they get gushing, beautiful, warm tones. There are elements of glam-era David Bowie, Marc Bolan, and 90’s brit-pop, and while the album has a classic rock comfort, it maintains a contemporary gravitas that keeps it from descending into derivative or nostalgic territory.
Smith Westerns – Weekend