May 24, 2018
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Sound Advice: Smith Westerns

By Emily Burnham, BDN Staff

BDN staffers write about new albums from across the musical spectrum

“Dye It Blonde’ (Fat Possum)

The rowdy, singalong choruses and glittering piano and guitar riffs that carry each and every song on the Smith Westerns’ sophomore album “Dye It Blonde” seem straight out of 1972. The comparisons of the band to the early ’70s output of David Bowie, Mott the Hoople and T. Rex are appropriate, as each shimmering nugget of glam pop is bursting with boyish charm. You half expect to turn the album over and see a picture of the four members wearing platform heels and eyeliner.

It’s refreshing, in a way, to hear a band so firmly devoted to a sound and style, regardless of its trendiness or retro appeal. Fortunately, they follow up that devotion with chops. Despite their young age — lead songwriters Cullen Omori and Max Kacacek are both 21 years old — it’s clear that they have a solid handle on songwriting and riffage.

The album starts off with “Weekend,” a paean to good times, with a squealing guitar line clearly indebted to Marc Bolan. The loping, infectiously melodic “Imagine Part 3” is another standout, as is the piano-driven barnstormer “End of the Night.” It might not be anything new, and it might not be anything important — but it is one of the most fun albums released so far this year.

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