There is a fine line between being influenced by past songs and copying bands you can share the stage with. Smith Westerns, a handful of sweet young things still in their teens, put out an album, and if they listened to music that's currently popular, then they might not tread the all-too-common beach garage rock waters.
From the beginning, Smith Westerns play the clichéd surf guitar riffs that bands should avoid like herpes these days, and use vocal effects that are unavoidably Black Lips. Their Garageband antics (pushing all the levels to red and clanging away at their guitars like they live on the west coast circa 1973) makes them sound like the Chipmunks. Listen to “My Heart” and tell me there’s no hint of Alvin. Of course, the kids are young and have a lot of time to hone their sound, and hopefully get a space echo.
The band’s older influences are what bait the listener. To be seventeen again, discovering T Rex for the first time and stealing virginities left and right is worth writing songs about. These guys loved T Rex so much they put the “Bang a Gong” guitar riff directly into their own “Girl in Love.” Some of the other songs like “Tonight” are tinged with an early Phil Spector sound, which lends itself helpful to Smith Westerns’ pop-punk lyrics about liking girls and thinking things are cool. Throughout the album, this carefully woven blend of past and present invite the temptation to press the repeat button before the song is even over. Definitely a band to watch.