Smalltown - Read Between the Lines [10 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Read Between the Lines [10 inch] (2009)

Pirate's Press

Smalltown do a mid-tempo, power-pop-indebted style of melodic punk for this 10" EP, Read Between the Lines, that's not quite flooring, but agreeably sprightly and light enough to be pretty enjoyable. They're Swedish, too, but you'd never really know the difference.

The most direct comparison that comes to mind is One Man Army, but beside "Disconnected," Smalltown don't quite pick up the punk rock pacing like them. They tend to operate at a more moderate but still upbeat tempo, while singer/guitarist Kalle L has a voice that's raspy, but never entirely so. The willingness to mix it up, with a vintage guitar tone and very tasteful, Costello-esque keys on "A Turn for the Worse" keep this seven-song, nearly 20-minute EP fresh early on, too.

In fact, they close with "Radio Radio." While it's possibly Costello's most covered song to the point of banality, it's done well and the homage is laid down tightly, so it's hard not to at least appreciate. The EP starts to drag just slightly before it with "All Good Things," which is another cover (the Statues) but the very doable Costello impersonation should get your attention back.

Definitely a solid debut, and the diecut cover is another pleasant, eye-catching packaging decision from Pirates Press.

Boiling Point
A Turn for the Worse
All Good Things [the Statues cover]