A sun-drenched LP start through finish, Smith Westerns’ Dye It Blonde was packed with such charming summertime feel that it warmed many newcomers to the cause. The trio subsequently returned to Chicago to saddle up alongside Chris Coady (Beach House, Yeah Yeah Yeahs), and are now looking to build on the well-received hotbed of colour and beach riffage that was their 2011 endeavour with their third studio record to date.
Soft Will is, absolutely instantly, easily relatable to its predecessor as right from the off its primary elements find themselves front and centre: opener 3AM Spiritual offers infectious melody in abundance, a typically fluid structure and even a guitar solo which, let’s face it, is something of a risky business these days. But they get away with it, and blimey – what a reintroduction this is.
Though as the record progresses, the three scruffs explore all the more mature timbres: Idol sees them take advantage of an in-studio flexibility the like of which they’ve never previously applied, with layered guitar hooks glazing the track’s already sweet surface. In addition, the mutedly sophisticated Glossed and White Oath stand out brilliantly as Girls-inspired guitar ballads. Though the treated guitar licks of Fool Proof – immediately reminiscent of a certain George Harrison – render it an out-and-out highlight displaying, much as Dye It Blonde did when sat beside their eponymous début before it, that Smith Westerns have grown up considerably since we last heard from them.
Very much an album steeped in nostalgia and celebration, it comprises all the usual nods to indie-pop and guitar greats throughout but it’s ultimately effortless and mightily contemporary guitar pop from this bunch, and they do it as well as anybody at the minute…
Released: June 24th, 2013 [Mom + Pop]