The Music Box: Smith Westerns’ Dye It Blonde…A Record That Loves You Back

Track Listing:

  1. Weekend
  2. Still New
  3. Imagine, Pt. 3
  4. All Die Young
  5. Fallen In Love
  6. End Of The Night
  7. Only One
  8. Smile
  9. Dance Away
  10. Dye The World

The Band:

In the coming months when lineups need filling, Smith Westerns will prove to be one of the most sought after buzz bands on the festival market.  The Chicago four-piece, whose members are all between the ages of 18 and 20, opened eyes with it’s foggy and crunchy self-titled debut that hit record stores in 2009.  The album was rough to put it lightly, as it was mostly recorded in lead guitarist Max Kakacek’s basement, but took cues from ’60s Garage-Rock acts found on the Nuggets (1972) and Back From The Grave (1983-1992) compilation LPs, and undoubtedly showed great promise; enough promise in fact to catch the ear of a producer named Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beach House).  Coady took the band from the Windy City to the Big Apple and helped Smith Westerns’ attain the more glamorous, glossier sound that is heard on Dye It Blonde.

Release Date: 1/18/11

The Review:

This isn’t the Garage-Rock I grew up on.  Dye It Blonde is more melodious than anything The Strokes ever put out, and much more subdued and soothing than that of the The Vines and The Hives.  Smith Westerns’ sophomore effort is a creamy collection of cavernous ear candy, that’s lack of lyrical content is smothered by instrumental pleasantries, namely the fluffy fuzz of Max Kakacek’s wincing and distorted guitar.

This record is an ode to the outfits of the ’60s whose indecipherable front-men and sloppy  autuers of the axe specialized in nothing more than shaking and breaking their suburban, two-door car ports by transforming an amalgamation of slushy sounds into something sweet and shimmering.

“Imagine, Pt. 3”

However, Dye It Blonde does more than pay homage to a hazy past, and Lead vocalist Cullen Omori clearly states what Smith Westerns intentions are on the track “Only One,” when the singer belts the chorus “I want you to feel what it’s like to be loved…”

Mission accomplished.  This record wraps the listener in a warm embrace many so coveted as child but never received and pay good money for therapy to help cope with the fact.

By the third misty number there isn’t a question about what this album means to offer…it’s nothing but love songs.  The situations may vary, a long and lonely end of the week (“Weekend), the guilt and frustration that accompanies a chick who won’t leave her boyfriend but keeps crawling back into your bed (“Imagine, Pt. 3”), and a couple who doesn’t realize they’ve spent the entire night in each others arms until her “eyes shine the sunlight” as Saturday night turns into Sunday morning, but the focus remains the same: great affection.


Dye It Blonde is s a very good listen that leaves little to be desired musically, however, I’m a liner note fiend, a lover of lyrics, and, much to my chagrin, the word-play was less than satisfactory.  Yes, I realize this band is more focused on the sound that emits from its amps than the words Omori spits, but the language definitely lacked creativity and lost some points in that category.

The Rating: 3.5/5

About rote7123

Chris graduated from The College Of New Jersey in May 2011 with a Bachelor Degree in Journalism and Professional Writing, as well as a degree in Communication Studies. He has held down a position in the Asbury Park Press’ Sports Department since September of 2010 and is a contributor to the outlet's Arts & Entertainment section, and has contributed to The Aquarian Weekly all while being the sole operator of Asbury Park's premier music news outlet Speak Into My Good Eye.
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One Response to The Music Box: Smith Westerns’ Dye It Blonde…A Record That Loves You Back

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