BY JOHN B. MOORE
I guess everyone has to grow up eventually.
When Chicago’s Smith Westerns first surfaced in 2009, they were scrappy kids playing raucous power pop marrying together everyone from the Replacements to Material Issue. Their debut was bratty, fun, lo-fi with little attention to production values. Then came 2011’s Dye it Blonde, and while there were still snatches of their garage power pop sound, the band has definitely eased up on the gas a bit and paid a little more attention to a slapping a slicker sheen on their records.
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise then that Soft Will continues down that path of a more cleaned-up mature sound, almost completely abandoning all sense of rambunctious fun for, well, purpose. Soft Will is certainly pleasant enough (which shouldn’t really be what you’re striving for with a rock album), and I’m sure is being hailed by indie taste makers everywhere who like their rock on the sterile side. I’ll just go back to listening to their debut.
And yes, even The Replacements grew up and mellowed out eventually, but you have to admit, those last couple of records were really just Westerberg solo efforts.
DOWNLOAD: “3am Spiritual”