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Smith Westerns

Soft Will (Mom + Pop)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Oct. 4, 2013

ACL Music Fest 2013 Friday Reviews

Smith Westerns

Soft Will (Mom + Pop)

The rough, joyous garage pop of Smith Westerns' 2009 debut matured into glam-soaked hooks on the Chicago quartet's sophomore LP, Dye It Blonde, and now Soft Will rises even higher into the hazy cosmos. Aptly titled, the album lulls with gentle transitions and such a smooth ebb and flow that it plays like a half-remembered daydream, beautiful and mystic even as it refuses to settle. Opener "3am Spiritual" moves the most dynamically in Brit-pop turns, yet even amid the surging guitar swirls of "Idol" and "Glossed," and the four-and-a-half minute instrumental interlude of "XXIII," the band revels in a cresting soundscape of saturated summer jams. "White Oath" lingers in a restless malaise that nonetheless seduces into its stoned glow, and "Best Friend" soars with a mellow-rip of T. Rex into the softer, wistful sway of Beatles licks on "Cheer Up." Soft Will, a polished, richly layered trip, even if it never fully arrives. (3pm, Honda stage)

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