Tuesday, December 27, 2011

DYE IT BLONDE - Smith Westerns (2011)

Barely out of high school when they released their self-titled debut in 2009, Chicago's Smith Western's Dye It Blonde finds the band settling in on an appealing early 70s glam-pop vibe that recalls George Harrison's early solo recordings (especially All Things Must Pass) and/or prime Mott The Hoople in its strongest moments, and cheesier bubblegum punk acts like The Sweet or Bay City Rollers in its worst.

The instrumental craftsmanship and nuance, especially when one considers the band's age, is impressive, but after nifty opener Weekend, the rest of the material here, though consistently energetic and upbeat, struggles to take flight.

A couple of the other tracks come close...Imagine Pt. 3 and the jaunty Dance Away in particular...but otherwise, some spark just seems to be missing...the instrumental hooks don't quite grab, the vocals a bit too smooth and soft to bite, the overall choices a touch too safe to excite...leaving the listener with what I found to be an increasingly frustrating string of "almost" great tracks.

Still, if you're a fan of the classic 70s glam or the early solo Beatles releases, the sound and energy here are strong enough that you'll probably find Dye It Blonde worthwhile (Lord knows the album has received its share of stellar reviews). But for the rest of you, I'd grab a download of Weekend and give the album in full a pass.

Status: Mild Recommend.

Cherry Picker's Best Bets: Weekend, Imagine Pt. 3, End Of The Night, Dance Away.

Here's the official video for best track Weekend.

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

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