Five years ago
, Smith Westerns
were a bunch of fresh-faced teens, opening for (and backing up) Nobunny in a Humboldt Park living room
and recording what would become HoZac’s very first LP release. Fast-forward to now, and these Chicago boys, while still fresh faced, have traded in their fuzzy garage pop for slick indie rock and swapped midwestern basements and house shows for stages at Coachella and Lollapalooza. Their new record, Soft Will
(Mom + Pop Music), barely has anything in common with their older stuff—walls of vocal hooks and lush synths stand where blown-out, distorted guitars once romped. Soft Will
’s closing number and best song, “Varsity,”
perfectly showcases Smith Westerns’ new penchant for pretty, new-wavey indie pop: New Order-flavored guitar crosses paths with the sugary falsetto of lead singer Cullen Omori, and the irresistible chorus makes it clear that these guys are more Shins than Spits. —Luca Cimarusti Wampire opens. Smith Westerns also play at Logan Square Auditorium on Fri 8/1.