Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde

January 01, 1970

(Fat Possum)


It seems
as though the members of the young, savage Chicago indie-glam outfit Smith
Westerns caught a little of the glitter residue that sprinkled off their label Fat Possum’s recent reissue of T. Rex’s The Slider. On the followup to their
eponymous 2010 debut, the band completely punches up the pomp to their sonic
circumstance, deepening the melodic undercurrents of their collective jones for
all things Marc Bolan, Sweet and the first Suede album. Here, the 10 new songs show
how these kids harbor performance chops that deceptively belie their young
median age.


The main
ingredient of these tracks can be traced to the knockout songwriting skills of
frontman Cullen Omori and guitar hero Max Kakacek. Songs
like the Orbison-esque “Still New”, the ELO death trip “Imagine
Pt. 3” and the grandiose, Pulp-like “Smile” seem eons away from
the dodgy lo-fi production of their first LP, thanks to the formidable skills
of Chris Coady, who brings the same sense of artful bombast to Dye It Blonde as he has to the music of
TV On The Radio, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and !!! in previous years.


And while the fact that Omori and Kakacek have proven to
possess the kind of aptitude for songcraft that would have earned them
side-by-side desks at the Brill Building back in the ‘60s, it’s Kakacek’s
stellar guitar playing – a unique fusion of Peter Buck jangle, George Harrison
drama and Mick Ronson bravado – that really sends this record over the moon, as
duly noted at the outset with Blonde’s buoyant opening cut “Weekend”. If these youngsters continue to travel
at the rapid speed by which they are evolving, Smith Westerns could reach
supernova faster than you can say “Buick MacKane”. 


DOWNLOAD: “Weekend”,
“Still New”, “Imagine Pt. 3”, “Smile” RON HART

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