Fun For Kids!
A bigger budget did a lot of good for Smith Westerns. The Chicago-based band’s second album, Dye It Blonde, is clean, young, slightly synthy, chocked-full of guitar and contains an ample amount of keyboard. You won’t hear much of that lo-fi stuff you heard in their 2009 self-titled release.
While the band had many influences for Dye It Blonde, mostly from bands whose glory days were almost 20 years ago (Oasis, Bowie), the album produces no nostalgia and instead concocts modern indie-pop with hooks to every track.
Their released single “Weekend” kicks off the album well. It’s incredibly catchy, fun and makes you want to be 19 and partying all night again. “Still New,” the album’s second song, slows the pace down a bit and features a twangy guitar, but the themes of girls and love and relationships still stay intact: “No doubt it’s you I think and dream about/And oh could it be possible for you to be with me?” “Imagine Pt. 3,” the album’s third track, is their tribute to John Lennon.
Lyrically, the songs are a bit trite and you’re reminded that the members of the band (Cullen Omori, Cameron Omori, Max Kakacek ) are youngin’s who are still very much in touch with those exciting puppy love feelings that most of us have grown to ignore. “Everybody wants to be a star on a Saturday night/Come with me baby and your eyes shine the sunlight” is a snippet from “End of the Night” and although catchy, Cullen repeats many times “And we’ll dance the night away” and exclaims “Upside down, you turn me on/It’s like fire to a flame” it isn’t exactly relatable for anyone past their mid-twenties.
Dye It Blonde is no album to go down in history, but is a big step in the right direction for Smith Westerns. Buy this album for your little sister.