CD Review: Smith Westerns, "Dye It Blonde"

July 14, 2011


Dye It Blonde
Fat Possum

Since the rise and fall of The Strokes, we have found ourselves amongst a new generation of gawky, throwback private school-esque rockers offering their take on those bratty, brash, simple and sassy sounds.

One of the current members of this genre is Chicago's altgarage pop rock outfit Smith Westerns, composed of the sibling songwriting duo Cameron and Cullen Omori and guitarist Max Kakacek. The band's sophomore album, Dye It Blonde, is just dandy: stripped-down, major-chord, British-influenced power pop with lush, drawn-out vocal melodies. It is a well-produced, mid-tempo alternative pop album with traditional-yet-loose arrangements and glam rock leads. The content of the band's lyrics are both formative and meaningless, but in a most brilliant post-modern way — something that a young band tends to lose over time. And the production on Dye It Blonde is fitting: simple, yet textured. Having a recording budget this time around has worked in the band's favor. The listening quality has improved, but the sounds still maintain the lo-fi characteristics that got them to where they are.

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