Small Arms Dealer - A Single Unifying Theory (Cover Artwork)

Small Arms Dealer

A Single Unifying Theory (2006)

Deep Elm

Angst-filled, bitter, and oddly inviting are just a few ways that I'd describe the demeanor of Deep Elm's latest signing, Small Arms Dealer. It's no secret that Deep Elm is one of my favorite labels out there right now. After striking proverbial gold with their recent Latterman release(s), I've been bracing myself for whatever is thrown my way that carries the Deep Elm insignia.

Sing-alongs with bouncy power chords are the name of the game on A Single Unifying Theory. I could totally throw out the stock Hot Water Music comparison to give you a rough idea as to what these dudes sound like but I'm as sick of hearing that as I am writing it. The more I sink into these songs the more content I am keeping comparisons at a safe distance from this review because I doubt I can deliver justice to the CD that's spinning in my stereo. This is punk rock that's been given a tetanus shot of sour emotions that land all over the map. "You're maladjusted like I am, you're wearing it on your wrists. You feel frustrated and it's not fair, but fairness ain't worth shit" is just one such example of why this CD goes down like a mouthful of broken glass. You'd probably get lost in a cloud of bitterness if you went searching for songs about rainbows and sunshine on this record. Despite my frequent encounters with such grim imagery on A Single Unifying Theory, there's something about Small Arms Dealer that keeps my ears perked as if I were gawking at a car crash on the side of the highway.

Phil from Latterman was turning the knobs on this one and I must say he did a nice job in creating an equilibrium with each instrument. Each song seems to have made it through onto this disc in the recording process without getting lost in translation. The solid crunch that the guitars deliver is nothing to scoff at as is the muscular drumming style. Finding something that doesn't fit musically with Small Arms Dealer is like finding a needle in a haystack. Everything tends to fall right into place when it comes to playing their instruments.

As enjoyable as this band is, I'm kind of wondering to myself whether or not Small Arms Dealer is good enough to land a spot in my usual listening regiment. It's a bit too early to tell, but I'm far from on the fence with this one. Small Arms Dealer kept me focused on these tunes pretty well since this CD landed in my mailbox. I'll admit, listening to this record is a lot like ripping off a band-aid due to the lyrical themes that call this record home. But I'd still recommend this to those of you looking to freshen up on some good punk rock tunes that are sure to strike just the right chords.

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