Soft Will - Smith Westerns
Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Oct 4, 2013
    67
    Soft Will, a polished, richly layered trip, even if it never fully arrives.
  2. Aug 9, 2013
    40
    Soft Will is certainly pleasant enough (which shouldn’t really be what you’re striving for with a rock album), and I’m sure is being hailed by indie taste makers everywhere who like their rock on the sterile side.
  3. Jul 10, 2013
    60
    It's a lovely place that Soft Will fashions here, but it sounds hesitant about pulling you in, perhaps because its creators are secretly concerned that you'll realize you aren't really going anywhere.
  4. Jul 8, 2013
    80
    Soft Will is the perfect summer record, hazy and ill-defined and hard to remember but oh-so-euphoric.
  5. 83
    Making music this fuzzy and wonderful is a notable feat. Making tunes that make you want to jump into a time-travelling DeLorean and materialise in yester-year, desperate to reenact the same wanton mistakes that you made the first time round? That’s a real achievement.
  6. Soft Will is certainly not as immediately infectious as Smith Westerns’ previous outings, but that does not make it a weaker album. There are still many injections of fun in the wordless gang vocals and theatrical guitar solos.
  7. Jun 28, 2013
    80
    Smith Westerns have never sounded so comfortable in their own skin.
  8. Jun 27, 2013
    60
    Soft Will, like previous Smith Western albums, still brims with hooks but it never quite resolves if it’s still just good-time summer pop, dark-night-of-the-soul rumination or some sort of Summerteeth-esque middle ground.
  9. Jun 27, 2013
    70
    In addition to sharpening the lyrical content, Soft Will has some of the group’s complex and multifaceted bits of rock assemblage. There’s a confidence and control to the playing on this album.
  10. Jun 27, 2013
    60
    Smith Westerns have proven themselves adept chameleons and excel in their new style. It’s just tough not to miss the old one.
  11. Jun 26, 2013
    70
    Soft Will won’t enter the annals as album of the decade, but it showcases the tools and talent to make it happen one day.
  12. Jun 25, 2013
    64
    Even if this sudden maturity results in deeper sounds, it doesn’t always result in deeper songs.
  13. Jun 25, 2013
    60
    On their third album, they move far away from their garage-rock starting point and construct an expertly lyrical world of yearning and insinuation.
  14. Jun 25, 2013
    50
    The tempered songs of Soft Will, however, don’t feel thoughtfully restrained as much as deflated of enthusiasm.
  15. 80
    There’s a lot to love about music that’s as head over heels in love with youth as Soft Will is.
  16. Jun 24, 2013
    70
    Soft Will marks a further refinement of Smith Westerns’ sound, resulting in one of the year’s most straightforwardly enjoyable indie-rock records.
  17. Jun 24, 2013
    40
    All of the delicate, precious tom buildups that segue into invariably lofty choruses, all laced with the same pining slide guitars, overlay the record with a strummy, mid-tempo delirium that sets in once the considerable swagger of the first three tracks wears off.
  18. Jun 24, 2013
    80
    Thanks to their actual growth as artists, it may be their best yet.
  19. 83
    The quietly splendid Soft unspools an effortless mix of sleepy glam and swooning pop. [28 Jun 2013]
  20. Jun 20, 2013
    80
    Soft Will marks Smith Westerns moving into another realm of quality and experimentation, and, to put it quite simply, this album is just a complete pleasure to listen to.
  21. Jun 19, 2013
    70
    This record is an excellent evolution for the band and is a long way away from the good times that were seen on tracks such as ‘Weekend’.
  22. Jun 18, 2013
    90
    Three cheers aren't enough. [No.99, p.59]
  23. Jun 13, 2013
    80
    Everything on Soft Will is ringing, open, alive; there are croon-along choruses buoying every song. [Jun-Jul 2013, p.90]
  24. Jun 12, 2013
    80
    It’s a compelling story; through industry difficulties and growing pains, comes a lovesick, loveable and brilliant album.
  25. 70
    For all its faults, the heart and maturity at the centre of Soft Will feels more vital and important than their showy genre tourism ever did.
  26. Jun 12, 2013
    79
    Few groups do wistfully melodic trad-rock any better right now. Smith Westerns haven’t only not burned out, they’re a budding institution.
  27. 60
    The subject matter gives depth to the record, but sometimes it feels like Smith Westerns are filling in templates instead of writing songs.
  28. Jun 12, 2013
    62
    It’s not immediately remarkable but certainly hum-worthy, growing on a listener like flowers blooming after a long winter and timidly warming to the sun again.
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Aug 22, 2014
    10
    The sophomore album of Smith Westerns is yet another reason to keep an eye on this musical act. 'Idol', '3 AM Spiritual', 'Varsity', andThe sophomore album of Smith Westerns is yet another reason to keep an eye on this musical act. 'Idol', '3 AM Spiritual', 'Varsity', and 'White Oath' number among some of the most creative things I've ever heard. It may not be as groundbreaking as 'Dye it Blonde' was, but it is certainly worth a close listen. Full Review »