Chicago’s The Smith Westerns self-titled debut (available through Hozac Records) is more proof that high quality audio fidelity matters little when a band writes great songs - and this record is absolutely full of them. Top to bottom The Smith Westerns is a pure delight - a throwback, super lo-fi, garage-pop gem full of big riffs and unforgettable choruses. As you can see by this video, The Smith Westerns are nothing more than a bunch of kids - I mean, seriously, they look like they’re 3 weeks away from starting their Junior year. And yes, that puts them at the perfect age to write dumb songs about girls and nights and hearts (which they do, quite well, in abundance). But there’s no reason why they should do so while so successfully channeling the cocksure strut of prime T. Rex. But they do that well too.
My one caveat with The Smith Westerns is that I hope they don’t cling to the lo-fi aesthetic in the future. I mean, it’s a perfectly endearing novelty to hear a bunch of wildly talented children bash out some bratty exuberance on some shitty home recording devices, but many of these songs deserve a better fate. If I was 16 again I’d want songs like “Be My Girl” or “My Heart” on the radio, blowing dust off the AC/DC posters in my room. As a thirty-something, I want to see a convertible full of starry-eyed teenagers zip past me with the windows down, their arms raised, shouting “Tonight” or “Girl In Love” at top lung. I want The Smith Westerns to do that rarest of rock & roll tricks - that is, write the song that everyone can love. Maybe next time, or the time after that, or the time after that. For now, The Smith Westerns are for us - the ones who can dig their glistening melodies out from under the warm blanket of fuzz.
A limited edition double A-Side 7” single featuring “Be My Girl”/“Girl In Love” is available now from Transparent Records and can be purchased here (via GvB).