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By Charlie David Page
20th June 2013

'Soft Will' may be their third album, but it's unlikely much of Australia has heard of Smith Westerns - and more's the pity. The band started out at a Chicago high school, and wound up touring with the Arctic Monkeys and playing Coachella and Lollapalooza. It's no surprise, really - these guys know how to make scintillating music, with a touch of something old and something new.

Their work has undeniable tinges of the 70s - flavours of Bowie are both distinct and satisfying. There's ample use of jaunty pianos and soaring electric guitars with echoing effects pedals, and flourishes of synths throughout. Therein the enticement lies - the music has a nostalgic appeal, but with a distinctly modern perspective.


'3AM Spiritual' and 'Varsity' make for perfect bookends on this new album - the former with its enticing acoustic guitars and uplifting chants of "Woah yeah"; the latter delivering a drenching of happy synth melodies and an addictive drum beat. These two tracks set the standard for the rest of 'Soft Will' - a few songs deviate ever so slightly off course (a little more perky, a little morose), but the boys never stray far from the middle ground.

What's really interesting about this work is that it's not heavily lyrically driven. Singer Cullen Omori's vocals often take a back seat to the well-arranged instruments. This album even holds an entirely instrumental song, 'XXIII', with lush piano and wistful electric guitar that trasport you to a summery evening, lying on your back and watching the stars slowly go by.

These guys know how to make scintillating music.

As far as easy listening goes, Smith Westerns' new album has that well and truly covered. The band's recent work is full of gentle, refreshing tunes saturated in warmth. 'Soft Will' progresses at such a leisurely pace that I dare you not to lie back and enjoy it.

Like it? Follow it. Follow Smith Western's Huddle at the top of this page (you'll have to sign in or join up first) for the latest tour details, news and reviews from the band.

BAND: Smith Westerns
MEMBERS: Cullen Omori
Cameron Omori
Max Kakacek
Julien Ehrlich
FORMED: 2007
FROM: Chicago, Usa
SOUND: Indie Rock/glam Rock
FACEBOOK: smithwesterns
TWITTER: @smithwesterns
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