When Smith Westerns started gaining attention from record labels and fans, it was the first time they'd gotten the chance to see female approval, too. I was introduced to them in 2008, and rumor had it they were all virgins (save drummer Colby Hewitt, who was far from it, in a very public relationship with photographer/director Sandy Kim—side note, since then, Colby has moved on to play with Diiv, and he's still with Sandy).
Smith Westerns have gone a surprisingly sophisticated route after losing their V-cards, focusing on polished anthems for the sleepy-eyed teens who now fantasized about the deflowered Chicago boys. "Varsity" is a coming of age song, but it's as expected and sad as growing up is. It's too full and too lovelorn to have been written by a boy-click in ripped jeans, but it was, and it made the team, as the first single off Soft Will, out June 11th.
"Varsity" was released months ago, but the video, released today, directed by Alan del Rio Ortiz, was worth the wait. Like a few other examples directed by the sweetly sensitive Ortiz, it slows down the awkward movements of youth, creating a synthetic, super-saturated version of a casual meet up, which feels far more earnest than, say, a steady-cam documenting some iteration of "real life." Not much has changed, outwardly, about Smith Westerns since becoming men, going from Junior to Varsity, but then again, they've successfully lived in a waking fantasy world of romance and indie-pop, separate from competitive status.