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Smith Westerns

Dye It Blonde (Fat Possum)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Sept. 16, 2011

ACL Music Fest Friday Reviews

Smith Westerns

Dye It Blonde (Fat Possum)

The Smith Westerns' 2009 debut delivered a fuzzed, swaggering update to T. Rex and Mott the Hoople-tinged glam, captured mostly in the scrawny Chicago-based group's lackadaisical teenage charm. The challenge for their sophomore outing was thus to mature sonically without losing the youthful glow, a tension measured in "All Die Young" and its declaration "I wanna grow before I grow up." Dye It Blonde certainly demonstrates polish over its predecessor with the leap to Fat Possum. The roguish riffs remain, especially in the Bolan-esque bravado rising in closer "Dye the World," but they're now aided by swelling choruses that glisten on "End of the Night" and "Smile." The poppier inflection bursts through best on opener "Weekend" and "Fallen in Love," even as the falsetto swaying through "Still New" and the grittier "Only One" seems intentionally stretched, similar to Smith Westerns' California counterparts, Girls. (3:30pm, Google+ stage)

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