Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde (Weird World)
May 26, 2011 by Henry Fry
When the self-titled debut by Smith Westerns dropped back in 2009 on Hozac it was a slightly louder and messier affair. Now on Fat Possum in the US and Domino imprint Weird World in the UK, the difference that a little extra money can do is quite noticeable. With the gain turned down a little, the introduction of a few new records in their collection, a few guitar lessons and either being put on Ritalin or having the blue smarties taken out of their diet, the band have made a much more accomplished, chilled and overall listenable record.
In their two year gap between records, the band has embraced their sound and influences more then most, leaving Marc Bolan ambitions at the door and fitting into something a little better fitting for the times, but still maybe not different enough to capture too many imaginations. My first Introduction to ‘Dye It Blonde’ did bring in some sunshine to a very dull replacement bus service through Southampton City Centre, on a very dull day, after what felt like the longest journey from the East End. The ‘wonky’ pop tunes are perfect for a summer day spent with close chums drinking in the park and the utter mish mash of genres that is ‘Dance Away’ will fit in fine to pull some shapes when you arrive home. It’s a fun record … but that’s about it.
My only problem is that I don’t know how much ‘Lo-fi’ I can take. It’s been 4 years since Black Lips’ classic ‘Good Bad Not Evil’ first introduced me to the genre and in most recent years it has been shoved down the worlds throats by key players: The Drums and pop punkers in disguise Best Coast, and plenty of other bands that haven’t made it to the front of my brain. I’m dreading the day that NME’s best new band ‘The Walking Hair Cuts’ are climbing the hit parade while discussing their love of pretending to surf, smoking weed and being gobby about any band that didn’t start a year previous and learnt to play their instruments. The world needs to turn down their reverb peddles before the misguided crew who comute to Shoreditch start carrying surfboards and no one wants that.