Of Mice & Men
The Mo Club, Southampton, UK - 16/4
Small Brown Bike
Fell & Found
Written by: PP on 06/07/2011 06:35:13
Cult post-hardcore band Small Brown Bike haven't released anything since 2003, which might be why this generation of music fans know so little about them as opposed to Hot Water Music and other similar pioneering bands in the genre back when its definition was something completely different from what it is today. But now they have finally returned with a new record called "Fell & Found", a mature post-hardcore record that cleans and polishes the gravelly and lo-fi sound of their older material without abandoning it entirely.
At first, the album will sound bland, boring and lacking of highlight moments, a trait nearly always associated with albums that turn out to be huge growers in the long run. That is also the case for "Fell & Found", which requires plenty of listens before one starts noticing the quirky metaphorical lyricism (such as "you are the ocean, I am the sea, what will drown in you will float in me") or the subtle guitar melodies that play in near-perfect harmony with the softened and nostalgic clean vocals. The raspy shouts from the old albums have been polished into heartfelt clean ones in order to achieve better atmosphere and a deeper connection to the listener. Eventually, the despaired and emotionally wrought melancholy that is Small Brown Bike will suck in its listener and won't let go until the album is over.
The problem is, however, that the best tracks on the album are simply so brilliant that they leave everything else standing in their shadow. Here I'm talking about the astonishing lyricism on the title track, or the shouted melodies and brief tempo shifts on "A Minor Movement", or the unparalleled beauty of "In Need Of Everything". Then there's also the fact that "Fell & Found" is a consuming listen. The detail is often so layered and subtle that it demands constant attention to reveal itself, which isn't always a good thing in today's ADD-infested music industry. Whereas us old punkers will appreciate attention to miniscule detail, the newer kids expect instantly catchy bombastic tracks that don't lose replay value over the long run. You can't fault the band for having nailed the latter and ignoring the former, but it will cost them publicity points...though based on this album, they are far more interested in artistic completeness in the vein of Thrice than anything else.
Download: Onward & Overboard, Fell & Found (The Walk), A Minor Movement
For the fans of: North Lincoln, Latterman, Hot Water Music, Thrice
Release date 26.04.2011
No Idea Records