Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde 

A joyful, full-on teen riot structure with a penchant for multi-tracked melodies

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Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde
Fat Possum

Thinking how contemporary indie pop is now mostly as dull and unremarkable as the millions of square miles of tract housing and fading mini-malls that gave it its rise, the second album from Chicago's Smith Westerns is a full-on teen riot structure.

It's pure joy, as if weaned on record collections crammed with '70s glam and pop — Sweet, the Rollers, Pilot, T. Rex (more Dandy in the Underworld than Slider), etc., alongside the first couple Supergrass albums. There's some neon grime and gloss, and song sentiments suggest disenchanted upbringings: lots of beer-bong philosophies, suburban boredom and unrequited love — even the odd misanthropic or tongue-in-cheek response.

Singer Cullen Omori swoons uncannily like the Only Ones' Peter Perrett — his wispy frailty upholds a penchant for multi-tracked melodies — and, like the best singers, he's not terrified of his feminine side, which actually makes him manlier. The three Smith Westerns (all born in the early '90s) are spindly chick-magnets, two could be young but pretty Joey Ramones — or puppy-dog heroin addicts — with perfect skin and manes not yet ruined by the hard road.

Producer Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) layers harmonized guitars, reverb, organ and piano like some indie Phil Spector, and "Weekend" is the Single of the Week — and all the weeks until school's out.


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