Smith Westerns: Soft Will
For Smith Westerns’ third album, the Chicago rock band focuses on crafting a distinctly British sound. Unlike other indie-leaning rock bands right now, Soft Will doesn’t rely on programmed drums or big synths. Instead, most of the album calls up Abbey Road-era Beatles, with Harrison-esque guitar licks, a crisp, dry drum sound, and tight harmonies.
Like most bands that go after the Beatles’ sound, however, the comparison is not necessarily kind. Though their melodies are very strong and memorable, the songs are interesting, and the production is generally good, Soft Will is certainly no Abbey Road. The band’s previous albums contain weaker material, but, at least Dye It Blonde, feels stronger as a whole because of its sonic exploration and excitement. Soft Will shows off a lot of excellent craft, but without the fire or proper energy to make it an outstanding album.