[sic] Magazine

The Smith Westerns – The Smith Westerns

If you want top product you pay top dollar, so the saying goes. Conversely, if you want something nobody else ever did you also have to pay top dollar as so few examples exist. The Smith Westerns ‘ eponymous debut firmly finds itself in the former category and also encroaches upon a third where scant supply does not meet small demand.

In The Red have done a splendid job with their cash cow Black Lips , which has enabled them to launch The Strange Boys to increasingly enamoured reception. The Smith Westerns inhabit a similarly lo-fi space to both of them plundering the same vein of ramshackle 60s R&B. See their pleasing “Gimme Some Time” for the closest proof.

Where The Smith Westerns ultimately differ is with their strong injection of perhaps underused glam. “Girl In Love” is full of Marc Bolan ‘s brand of Soho strutting and comes fuzzed around the edges by warm lo-fi production thanks to having been recorded in band-member Max Kakacek ‘s basement. “Dreams” is chock-a-block with strong melodies and is a pure summery delight. The lazy bounce and jangle of “Boys Are Fine” provides a crackled trip in a yellow submarine through 60s pop. The scuzzy love in of “We Stay Out” sounds like it was recorded underwater, while the wistful “Tonight” seems to have been left on the dashboard to warp during a particularly sunny day. Yet, it is the single “Be My Girl”, which is the crowning glory. Full of laconic glam riffs, ambient bridges and with a surging chorus, its shiny, shiny pop is an absolute treat.

The boutique label is a godsend, promoting the cause of many worthy acts that would otherwise never see the light of day, but sadly they rarely have sufficient green to bring their bulls to market. In The Smith Westerns, Chicago label HoZac have themselves a improbably young but fine creature for stud but have largely failed to get it to the wider market. The result is that savvy stores sell it off piecemeal, and at a handsome price too. Consequently, it would be no surprise to see a larger label pick up distribution duty for a rerelease later this year, and only the foolhardy would miss that.

The Smith Westerns is out now on HoZac Records.