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Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde | Album review

On their overcooked and underenergized sophomore album, Dye It Blonde, Smith Westerns shoot with water pistols, not Sex Pistols.

Smith Westerns

Arrogance may look like Sean Hannity and smell like Drakkar Noir, but how does it sound? “Like Oasis” seems like the easy answer. Those cocky Brits played with sneers on their faces and their chests puffed up. But they were loud, bold and hungry. No, arrogance sounds lazier, like Smith Westerns.

The Chicago brats are hardly old enough to legally drink, but strut around town like the second coming of the Stones. The subheadline on the trio’s Twitter page reads “How’s the pussy tonight?” above tweets like “attn: slutz. get at us.” Man, that kind of gross dick-swinging might—might—be tolerable if the kids tore through rock & roll like early Guns & Roses. However, on their overcooked and underenergized sophomore album, Dye It Blonde, Smith Westerns shoot with water pistols, not Sex Pistols.

There’s a numb, slack weight to the mumbled, buried vocals and dazed drone of guitars. The glam and bubblegum of the late ’70s may serve as the template here, but this is power-pop completely drained of power. That’s the misfortune of being an indie-rock band at the height of the chillwave era.

Even “End of the Night,” a wanna-be weekend anthem can’t bother to pull the IV out of its arm. Slathered with fuzz and buzz until they hardly resemble themselves (and oddly resemble keyboards), the guitars languidly nosedive like sick bees. Producer Chris Coady slaps ten coats of paint on every single element.

Geesh, a group scores a couple of viral tracks on blogs, and suddenly its in the fat, contented stage of its career.

Smith Westerns hit [node:136737 link=Empty Bottle;] Saturday 26.

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