Album Review: Smith Westerns - 'Dye It Blonde'
Caution: awesome guitar solos approaching
Even though it bears the hallmarks of classic Oasis, Suede, T-Rex and solo John Lennon and George Harrison, it is not a backwards-looking album. It exists in the here and now, and it should really be celebrated because it’s been a long, long while since any band has so deftly penned a collection of songs which make you yearn to play along, hum along and – ultimately – sing along. Teaming them up with producer Chris Coady, who helmed Beach House’s ‘Teen Dream’, is the key to the record’s zing.
His work on ‘Dye It Blonde’ is exactly as you’d hope it would be – taking Smith Westerns’ ragged fuzz, spit-shining it, pushing Cullen Omori’s faint vocals right up and dropping heavy, heavy dream-synths all over the place. All that was left for the band to do – or mainly guitarist Max Kakacek – was to come up with the best, most anthemic guitar sounds possible. Well, wouldn’t you?
Obviously, Kakacek looked directly to: the beginning of ‘Metal Guru’, ‘Champagne Supernova’, ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’, ‘Wah Wah’ and ‘Everything Flows’. No need for anything else. Every song here features at least three amazing guitar bursts – euphoric little solos that drive the whole thing. The best moments are the ‘Mind Games’-aping ‘All Die Young’, the swoonsome ‘Still New’, and ‘Only One’, which sounds like a lost Gallagher B-side. Smith Westerns might not play barre chords, but they’re properly good songwriters – smart kids with mean tunes, sharp minds and great record collections.
Order a copy of Smith Westerns' 'Dye It Blonde' from Amazon
Check out Smith Westerns playing live at SXSW
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday
- Previous Album Review : Album Review: Waka Flocka Flame - 'Flockaveli'
- Next Album Review : Album Review: Fleet Foxes - 'Helplessness Blues'