Small Brown Bike - Our Own Wars (Cover Artwork)

Small Brown Bike

Our Own Wars (1999)

No Idea

I first heard about this band from the Alkaline Trio mailing list. I had no idea of what to expect when I listened to it at the record store. I had just heard very good things from anyone who had ever heard them. So when I first pressed play on that record store CD player I had relatively high expectations of what I was about to hear. They were shattered along with my eardrums as I turned up the volume full blast after I had heard the first 30 seconds. This stuff they were playing was quite possibly the most perfect mix of melody and hardcore I had ever heard. I don’t know how they did it and I don’t know how to describe it, but they pulled off a perfect balance of melodic and hardcore music and injected it with steroids. Um…well that’s a little weird, but that was my first impression.

The quality that I most appreciate from this album is the pure, raw emotion that both brothers put into their songs. Hearing Mike scream, “…if I could find the words I’d tear them out of my throat and crush them into your eyes…” or Ben, with, “won’t you tell me and hold me, won’t you tell me everything from the radio tonight. I slept on the floor, just waiting. Screaming at myself, ‘do you love her tonight?’” along with the pounding music gives me chills every time I hear it. The vocals are screamed with harshness and force, yet still refrain from having that death metal, American Nightmare-ish, Dillinger Escape Plan type style and are a very strong part of the album.

The best songs on this album include: “Cannons And The Tanks”, “Zerosum”, “Make This A Holiday”, and “In Tune”. In Tune would quite possibly be in my top 5 songs of all time. It gets me going every time I hear it. I would buy this album solely for the purpose of having this song, even if the rest sounded like Kenny G farting into his saxophone (hmmmm…interesting mental image, no?).

This album is the best one Small Brown Bike has put out, with Dead Reckoning just right behind it. It’s the only other album other than Alkaline Trio’s “Goddamnit” that has convinced me that things will be alright in the area of punk music. I’d urge anyone who enjoys emotional, melodic, or hardcore music to go out and buy it.