A Small Victory - El Camino (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

A Small Victory

El Camino (2004)


Lobster Records houses two of the best kept secrets of modern punk, Park and Staring Back. A little while ago, they released an EP from the Atlanta based band A Small Victory, and I sadly paid it no mind. ASV is back with another release on the ol' crustacean, and I'm fucking hooked.

Their sound is at first dismissed as another pop-punk band. At least, for the first 20 seconds of the opening track "Limousines and Cheap Cigars." However, they actually have balls behind their sound. I mean rock and roll testicles of power. They don't chug forward with pretty twinkling guitars, but rather bring out some Aerosmith inspired rock and guitar solos to spice up their mix of punk and pop. Their chops aren't bad either, and are able to pull of the rather ambitious sounds they laid down.

The melodies on this disc are pretty infectious. To the point that I was repeating each track twice before going on to the next one when I first listened to it. At times, the style of writing reminds me of Vinnie from LTJ, most notably on the closer, Blindman's Holiday. The lyrics are delivered with sincerity, and at times there are hints of Jesse from Brand New's influence in the delivery. However, unlike the Long Island heart throbs, they aren't quite as self absorbed or self destructive. Where his voice really shines is the acoustic/balls out rocker Farewell Capeside.

The addition of a mostly acoustic track is going to be of debate amongst the "true punkers" I'm sure, but I love the song. Rather than coming off as a rejected track from "Punk Goes Acoustic" or as a demo of a yet-to-realized song, it sounds like a singer/songwriter relapse to the 1970's (or an acoustic Gin Blossoms track). In the middle of it, the balls out rock comes, with smashing guitars and drums, along with a melancholy guitar solo that apes the vocal melody.

This disc is pretty awesome. It's pretty infectious, and it's pretty obvious why Lobster snatched these guys up. To be sure, we'll be hearing more of A Small Victory soon, as they move on to bigger and better things.