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The Daily Tar Heel

Music review: Smith Westerns

Adolescent frustration hasn’t sounded this sweet in a long time._ Dye It Blonde_ is an intoxicating mix of summery pop songs, so ably constructed that it belies the 18-20 age demographic of the group.
The Smith Westerns’ 2010 debut was a grungy, lo-fi and critically mediocre affair, but the cleaner and sunnier sound of the band’s sophomore album fits them perfectly.

The woozy, jangly electric guitar that is the glue of the record proves remarkably adaptable, bringing shades of ’90s Britpop, ’60s psychedelia and the sweet yearning of pop ballads to the group’s songs.
Despite a smorgasbord of influences, the resulting sound is uniquely Smith Westerns, and it’s clear that it’s a niche that suits the band.

Although the lyrics focus on thwarted love, frontman Cullen Omori’s dreamy, carefree voice makes these problems sound anything but troublesome.

With a never-ending supply of hooks and vocals that sound like they were recorded in a cathedral, this young band successfully creates an atmosphere that initially hooks you, then keeps you around until the closing track.

Smith Westerns have shown a knack for lush and textured music that doesn’t drag you down in over-arrangement. The extreme sea change in its sound also shows the group’s chameleon-like prowess in shifting genres. Let’s hope the band continues in this vein just a little bit longer.

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