I tell ya Chicago, I’ve just about had it with this weather. I’m not talking about SNOWMAGEDDON so much, but the bitter cold and wind is starting to get into my bones. Searching for respite from this feeling, I’ve considered a couple things: Irishing up my hot chocolate was my first idea, but being at work is a hindrance. Next, I thought of just listening to the group Hot Chocolate (that famous britpop group known mostly for their hit, “You Sexy Thing.”) But, if you’ve ever listened to that song more than three times in a row, you know that a full day can not be done.
Smith Westerns play a kind of sunny ’60s pop that puts a smile on your face, regardless of how many annoying people you have to deal with while you’re trying to listen to the album. It’s a mix of lo-fi indie rock and soaring guitar and harmonies that makes me nod like “Yes! Yes! Yes! This rocks!”
If I had to make a comparison, I’d say that Smith Westerns makes me think of Austin’s Spoon and ’60s pop band The Turtles. If those two bands got together, had a few drinks, and then nine months later had a baby together, I believe they would name it Smith Westerns Spoon-The The Turtles.
Dye It Blonde isn’t a perfect album by any means, though. One problem is that the genre it belongs to has become so over saturated that I think I could probably name five or six nationally known bands that have come out of Chicago in the last few years. But, when done right, it can be great. Another problem is that, as mentioned in another review of this record, the band relies too heavily on the guitar work of Max Kakacek.
He’s a great guitar player, don’t get me wrong. And he shines every opportunity he gets. The problem that Max creates is that he’s SO good the rest of the band has a hard time keeping up with him.
Even though there’s nothing groundbreaking about this record, I still love it. It isn’t treading on undiscovered territory or anything, and it doesn’t need to. Dye It Blonde is a truly fun, entertaining listen. I’ve heard the album in its entirety maybe a dozen times in the past week. It has definitely served me well on these cold Chicago days.
Word on the street is that Smith Westerns music is even better when performed live. That is something I highly recommend. Even through the flaws I mentioned, Dye It Blonde is still a record worth owning. If it’s making me feel good now, I can only imagine the power the record holds when the sun is shining on its own.
- Smith Westerns hail from right here in Chicago. Its members are: Cullen Omori, Cameron Omori and Max Kakacek
- They are currently on tour across the U.S. They will be at The Empty Bottle on Saturday, February 26. Tickets are no longer available for pre-order, but will be available at the door.