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I’m back and so is indie rock band Smith Westerns with their third LP, ‘Soft Will’. The release is a full departure from the fuzzy lo-fi of their 2009 self-titled debut and a move in the right direction for the band.

The album opens with ‘3 AM Spiritual’, which on the first listen reminded me of Girls (the band, not the gender). A solid first track, it sets up the rest of the album with its polished, echo-filled guitar and nostalgic lyrics.

While the whole album could be described as dreamy the melancholy ‘Only Natural’ is the most dream-pop influenced track, a rock-based cousin of any given song from Beach House’s ‘Bloom’. It seems like a strange formula, but not only does it succeed, it creates one of the album’s standout tracks.

‘Best Friend’ and ‘Cheer Up’  continue what seems to be the theme of the album: soft, relaxed mini-ballads with decidedly blue vocals. “I’m trying just to get ahead” Omori sadly reflects in the latter (despite the name of the song, ‘Cheer Up’ is not particularly happy).

If I had to pick one song to summarize the whole album, it would be ‘Glossed’. The title itself does a good job explaining ‘Soft Will’ ; the tracks are all laced with dreamy yet clean guitar that can really only be described as glossy.

Overall, ‘Soft Will’ is an enjoyable album with admirable consistency and some great standouts as well. It’s solid all-around and emotional without being too whiny. Smith Westerns have previously produced two good albums, but ‘Soft Will’ is their best and it indicates good things to come for the band.



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