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A Death in the Family - Small Town Stories (Cover Artwork)

A Death in the Family

A Death in the Family: Small Town StoriesSmall Town Stories (2009)
Resist / Poison City

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

While this is a statement that's surely been made in reviews of their earlier albums, it has to be said: A Death in the Family is Australia's answer to Hot Water Music. This band's apparently been at it for a few years -- since 2004, in fact, having released a full-length in 2006 and a split 7" i.
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While this is a statement that's surely been made in reviews of their earlier albums, it has to be said: A Death in the Family is Australia's answer to Hot Water Music.

This band's apparently been at it for a few years -- since 2004, in fact, having released a full-length in 2006 and a split 7" in 2007. They frequent comparisons to Leatherface, but there's something much more clear and comprehensible about frontman Atom -- hence the quick comparison to Gainesville's best.

Small Town Stories is a steadfastly mature-sounding, quality take on a well-tread sound, incredibly warm and held down with a ton of restraint. True adult emotion resonates in "Erasing the Maps," where Atom hollers, "We'll erase these maps we've made inside our heads / and we'll teach our limbs to go on without the heart," but there's something careful and temperate about the way he sings it.

Small Town Stories seems to operate largely on one speed and operation, that being a rugged medium tempo. It's a procedure so steady it might bog down the album a bit if not for, among other things, careful flourishes like the surprisingly well-integrated work of violinist Nell Day in tracks like "This Letters Proof" and "Erasing the Maps." Some piano peppers the No-Idea-cum-balladry of "Sinking Slowly," a song that drags a little but does forewarn you with its title. Then there are the Springsteen-esque moments, which come on strongest in "Our Divide," especially with those xylophone plinks or whatever that is, and the anthemic "Traffic"; their current tour with the Gaslight Anthem sure makes sense. The best moment probably comes, however, in the aforementioned "Traffic"; if you're not singing along with the repeated line "Our bodies are melting" (even if you thought Atom was yelling "Your body's a mountain" like I did), you're dead inside.

Small Town Stories needs a few more hooks and bit of fat-trimming (I'm thinking :30 or so from every song), but for someone who tracks down modestly gruff, world-weary punk acts like it was a career, it's hard not to like.

STREAM
Erasing the Maps
Vodka & Balconies

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
xote (April 16, 2009)

Seems like this might be pretty good. The name is fucking 0/10 though.

nineden (April 15, 2009)

The split with Manifesto Jukebox is fantastic.

Blackjaw_x (April 14, 2009)

Yeah I've heard and tried Conation before, I can give it another shot.

PoliticsOfStarving (April 14, 2009)

"Everyone needs to check out Jamie Hay, his solo stuff in Tyre Swans and his acoustic-driven band Fear Like Us. (He plays and sings some songs in ADITF). Oh, and then there's another Australian band named Like Alaska that's in sort of the same vein... and also awesome."

Jamie Hay has really made this his own band since he joined. He's just awesome.

For some older, harder, faster Jamie Hay music try and find some Conation.

Lungs, Like Alaska, ADITF, Fear Like Us, Daysworth Fighting, Coue Method ... I call them the Arthouse bands. If you live in Melbourne you know what I mean.

Lazaro (April 14, 2009)

Brilliant band!!! Check em

hayman (April 14, 2009)

Good value Aussie band, seen 'em a few times live and are good times. Lovin this album.

Blackjaw_x (April 14, 2009)

Oh and if for some reason you dig A Death in the Family and such but don't know Tribute to Nothing... check them out.

nocigar (April 14, 2009)

good shit. Like Alaska is the tits too!

Blackjaw_x (April 14, 2009)

Leighton:
Both of those bands are really good but got worse for their 2008 releases.
Only Thunder's original demos (which were later re-recorded for the full length) were too good; the album couldn't live up to them.
Tenement Kids went that 'rock' route, which is a big disappointment after their Doves EP, which was a perfect example of Strikeforce Diablo-esque or Small Brown Bike-esque Post Hardcore. It had something that distinguished itself - interesting guitar work, a deep, brooding, chaotic feel, etc. The rock sound is boring by comparison.

Blackjaw_x (April 14, 2009)

One of the very best albums I've ever heard. Easy 5 stars.

Everyone needs to check out Jamie Hay, his solo stuff in Tyre Swans and his acoustic-driven band Fear Like Us. (He plays and sings some songs in ADITF). Oh, and then there's another Australian band named Like Alaska that's in sort of the same vein... and also awesome.

Bryne (April 14, 2009)

The songs on their myspace are pretty good. I look forward to seeing them open for Gaslight in a couple weeks.

LeightonESmith (April 14, 2009)

This is not bad. Go the Aussies!
I've got to give it more time to digest.
Now review the other two Hot Water Music bands who have put out cool shit this year: Only Thunder and The Tenement Kids.

saladfingers (April 14, 2009)

You wanna track down the bands split with Manifesto Jukebox.

The track My Pal is this band at their peak. Awesome.

This is a great record by a great band. Needs to grow some more balls though

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