As the buzz around the band builds, Small Brown Bike continues to tease both fans and critics alike with yet another EP of material before their new full-length, due out this fall. Ironically, the band's career is taking almost the same path as Cursive's, take a look:
1. Put out a few low key albums and get an incredibly loyal fanbase.
2. Tour their asses off.
3. Watch the glowing reviews pour in.
4. Watch more and more critics start to take notice, their last album [Dead Reckoning] making many critics' Top 10 of 2001 lists [including mine].
5. Tease people with a split CD and an EP - Cursive did Burst And Bloom and their split CD with Eastern Youth, whereas Small Brown Bike did a split CD with the Casket Lottery and now this EP.
6. Release new album in 2003 and watch the popularity skyrocket. Cursive's already done this, but look for the same to happen to this Michigan quartet when Lookout! puts out their new full-length.
But enough about all of that, you want to know about this EP, here and now. Well, it's a definite sign of maturity in the SBB camp. The songs are more developed musically, Ben's main vocals have caught up with the band's pace, and the whole feel of the group now is one of progression, not stagancy.
"Trains All Talk" is the opening track, and has been kicking around on the internet in demo forms for some time now. This version blows the old one away, with tempo changes scattered throughout the devastatingly heavy drum line. This sets the tone for the next 4 songs, minus one - "So I Fall."
"So I Fall" seems to be a song written strictly for the haters out there who claimed the band was a one trick pony. Like Nirvana went unplugged and shocked the world, Small Brown Bike goes country and shocks... well, not the whole world. Yet. But yes, it's true, the band wrote a country song, complete with slide guitar and all. It's nothing much to write home about in the grand scheme of things, but it's just the fact that a band this intense toned themselves down this much is impressive.
EP closer "A Table For Four" starts out with some guitar noises more akin to Radiohead than Hot Water Music, or any other of the group's contemporaries. This is the final proof I needed to declare the band's "progression over stagnancy" motto official. Sure, the song slides back into more comfortable territory for the band, but every little bit counts.
With this EP, Small Brown Bike has positioned themselves to be one of the major players in the independent scene for years to come. Now, we just wait - either the band will explode all over the scene, or they will implode all over themselves.
I, for one, hope it's the former.
Trains All Talk
Trains All Talk [demo]
So I Fall [demo]