Landing a support slot with rock luminaries such as Wilco should serve as a pretty massive seal of approval and quality, that a band who get such an opportunity must be deserving and exciting to attract the attention of such an established act. That Smith Westerns’ derivative, lazy sound even interested Jeff Tweedy and co. is genuinely surprising.
Musically, the band seem to take elements from mostly British classic artists – Bowie, Marc Bolan, The Beatles– and strip away anything that made those acts interesting in the first place. On top of this, frontman Cullen Omori (great name, by the way) airily warbles with little melodic clout or effect throughout. Everything here sounds jaded, half arsed and bored even with itself. No wonder Pitchfork are getting excited.
There are glimmers of interest on Dye It Blonde, however. ‘End Of The Night’ has some dramatic twists in its arrangements, even going a bit Queen in places with its music-hall piano touches. Opener ‘Weekend’ has a tuneful sharpness to it strangely absent elsewhere, but you’re left crying out for a memorable line to sing along to, but its nigh on impossible to work what Omori is singing. Its as if the band couldn’t decide who should sing, so they decided to pick which of them sounded most like a hipster trying to order a smoothie.
Much of the rest of the album is full of generic, druggy strumalongs we’ve heard a million times before. If you want 90’s style britpop revivalism, go back and listen to the original thing. Teenage Fanclub, Oasis, whoever you prefer. But whatever happened to trying to make your own sound? Or trying to sound awake when you sing? I’ve even got bored of writing this revi…
Release Date – 2nd May 2011