Self Defense Family - End of a Year [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Self Defense Family

End of a Year [7 inch] (2009)


I doubt End of a Year ever try to make "statements" with their albums, per se, but maybe it just felt right self-titling their label debut on the bigger stage. Their Deathwish debut, indeed titled End of a Year, both harkens back to their clear mid-`80s Dischord roots while marching forward with their own quirky, unique touch in some of their best ways yet.

"Robert E. Howard" involves post-marital argument shrugs (maybe?) -- "no sex tonight!" -- in between crunchy, mid-tempo stop-starts. Any longer than a minute and change of this and it would probably get old, but as is, it's a sneaky, interesting way to open a 7". But "Gray Morrow" picks it up, as it's more urgent and frantic with ripping guitar lines resonating under Patrick Kindlon's spastic yelp. "Walter M. Miller Jr." deviates further from the other two, a warm, upbeat closer that stretches out beyond five minutes, guitars playfully coy and wistful and invoking wheat fields and old Neil Young songs despite Kindlon continuing to stutter and spew his points across the table.

End of a Year's label debut gets about as stylistically disparate as can be for only three songs -- maybe a bit too much, even. But if like an economical mixtape, so be it. We can check out the "bands" here further on the full-length followup.

Walter M. Miller Jr.