A horrible hack

Small Brown Bike

Fell & Found

Year Released: 2011
Format: CD
Label: No Idea Records
Reviewed by Joe Caithness on Jul 4, 2011
It's not like a band you liked who did loads of records and broke up, to reform all of a sudden for one gig, and then have an lp out within a year these days is it?! Ahem, so anyway Small Brown Bike, probably the best band of that era of the late 90s early 2000s where chuggy, melodic, mid tempo "post hardcore" was huge, the first real style of punk I guess I was ever "into it", for what it's worth. It felt like everyone was trying to do something that sounded like and evolution on from 90s bands like Jawbox and/or Fugazi and/or Quicksand, but a lot of bands seemed to have forgotten they had to write good songs too, and a lot of that stuff hasn't really stood the test of time.

Nowadays a lot of people hate on SBB because they changed their sound with every record, but I'd argue they pulled it off, I mean when I heard "Nail Yourself To the Ground" I literally, without being OTT for comedy effect, thought someone had sent me the wrong songs. But I learned to love it, along with their third album "The Riverbed", which is possibly one of the best sad chuggy punk records ever. The thing I like about this band, is that I could sit down with a few cold Strongbows and pick out any of their records, and they would sound different, but one will always suit my mood.

So, where the hell does this new thing fit in? It's hard to tell on first listen. I havn't heard their "comeback" 7 inch, so I don't know what the zietgeist is surrounding their music right now, but I can tell you, that four songs in, this is bigger and heavier than "The Riverbed", but don't expect the rugged and raw sound of their first two lps, and blown out overdriven basslines, because there isn't any. But it's fair to say they are feeling fresh, this isn't crossing into the worn out alt country territority of "The Riverbed". There is even hints of the heavier chunky sound of the first two albums mid way through the album with "As We Go". Six tracks in and it's really growing on me, I was expecting a 5 minute acoustic strum along to appear and kill the flow, but this actually a proper rock album.

I mean there are a few WTF moments with phasing effects on drum fills(?!), to be fair though, the delay pedals only come out briefly in the odd intro and breakdown, and it doesn't feel out of place. And for people who care, this record is produced and engineered by J Robbins, which makes total sense, and suits the band for obvious reasons. The weakest track, is ironically the one they made a video for to promo the album, so don't let that put you off. This a pretty good LP, I wonder how it hold up aginst the others to being picked out in a years time. You will probably want to skip "Just Bones" though, because it sounds like a teenage high school band doing a Chamberlain cover (and I mean the really dodgy faux-Springstein era Chamberlain album). Why do bands let the guy who can't sing have their own song? This is definitely the Ringo song, the piano sounds like a joke.

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