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Dye It Blonde
     

Dye It Blonde

by Smith Westerns
 

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Smith Westerns' self-titled debut album had all the scruffy charm of a bunch of high school kids bashing out ultra-catchy rock & roll tunes in their garage and recording it on a boom box. Which it basically was. The record had all kinds of rambunctious energy, glitter pop hooks, and lo-fi appeal. The question on the follow-up is whether

Overview

Smith Westerns' self-titled debut album had all the scruffy charm of a bunch of high school kids bashing out ultra-catchy rock & roll tunes in their garage and recording it on a boom box. Which it basically was. The record had all kinds of rambunctious energy, glitter pop hooks, and lo-fi appeal. The question on the follow-up is whether or not moving to a more professional recording setup would sap the power and individuality out of the group's sound. Luckily, Dye It Blonde is just as rowdy and full of life, only this time you can hear what's going on a lot better. Where a lot of the debut sounded like T. Rex in a teacup (or a tornado), this record goes for more of a budget Mott the Hoople approach. Lots of midtempo ballads with singalong choruses, pounding piano, and swooping organ, and a loose, frayed-around-the-edges, boys-together feel place the album firmly in the Mott style. The production by Chris Coady plays up the strengths of the band like the boyish lead vocals, the super hooky choruses, and the great guitar work. Everything blends together perfectly without sounding glossy or overcooked, and the guitar tone is especially nice, totally overdriven but super compressed with plenty of punch. Of course a sound without songs is like a pretty homebaked cake that tastes like Dolly Madison, and the band deliver a batch of them here that make the total package quite tasty. The rockers like "Weekend," "Dance Away," and "Imagine, Pt.3" have a pleasing swagger, the midtempo tracks (like "Fallen in Love" and "End of the Night)" bounce along happily, and the ballads have all kinds of ragged soul. Sounding both end-of-the-night epic and heartbreakingly sad, these songs provide some depth that the first record didn't have. Dye It Blonde may be a step away from the lo-fi bedroom sound toward the mainstream, but it's a small step, and they retain more than enough of the songcraft and attitude to keep things interesting. Anyone who liked the debut and was filled with apprehension about what would happen next will be pleasantly surprised, and might even end up liking this record more.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/18/2011
Label:
Fat Possum Records
UPC:
0767981123523
catalogNumber:
1235
Rank:
112606

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Smith Westerns   Primary Artist
Ryan McGinley   Choir, Chorus
Elizabeth Harper   Choir, Chorus
Honeychild Coleman   Choir, Chorus
John Eatherly   Drums,Choir, Chorus
Vashti Windish   Choir, Chorus
Carly Rabalais   Choir, Chorus
Cristi Jo Zambri   Choir, Chorus
Jessica Zambri   Choir, Chorus
Christiana Key   Choir, Chorus
Cullen Omori   Group Member
Elly Kakacek   Background Vocals
Max Kakacek   Group Member
Patrick Canaday   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Cameron Omori   Group Member
Donald Cumming   Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Chris Coady   Producer,Engineer
Brian Thorn   Engineer
Jason Matthew   Artwork
Max Kakacek   Composer
Irina Cocimarov   Artwork
Patrick Canaday   Engineer
Cameron Omori   Composer

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