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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Small Brown Bike and The Casket Lottery
Small Brown Bike and The Casket Lottery
Second Nature Recordings

Rating: NR/10 ?

February 18, 2000
Small Brown Bike and The Casket Lottery, two bands from the Midwest who play very similar strains of the post-punk/emo rock'n'roll that is so prevalent from that section of the country, have gotten together to record a six-song EP that is described as being "a collaborative effort in the truest sense." Why is this? Well, the bands didn't simply contribute three songs a piece, but instead actually collaborated in the music and lyric writing duties, sometimes each contributing an element separately, sometimes working together. While you have definitely heard bands like The Get Up Kids and Braid play this type of music before (although without the collaboration element); these emo-warriors do a pretty good job working together.

One marked difference in the two bands is their vocal styles. Small Brown Bike's Mike Reed generally inhabits the more powerful screamy world of singing which always seems to overpower The Casket Lottery's Nathan Ellis' more whiney and nasal stylings. The difference can be heard from song to song. The first track, "Wrong Hometown," finds Small Brown Bike contributing the music and The Casket Lottery contributing lyrics and vocals. When compared to the completely rockin' "Boardinghouse," on which Small Brown Bike handles vocal duties and The Casket Lottery the music, or "Now I'm a Shadow," which is Small Brown Bike on their own, this difference is made clear. The bands clearly work well together, having known each other and played shows together for several years. But Small Brown Bike has the edge in their vocals and the intricacy in their music that edges out over The Casket Lottery a bit. The two bands cover the classic Queen/Bowie tune "Under Pressure" together, and they handle it quite well, but one can't help but think of the far superior Crooked Fingers version of this standard. Things slow down to acoustic-emo ballad levels on the last track, "Riding with Death," ending the EP in a moody and contemplative haze.

It must be said again that these two bands employ a style of music that is increasingly popular these days, the loud-soft sing-scream dynamics of the current camp that can be called emo or post-punk or whatever. But they offer their own original and fresh takes on this style and they succeed in not bogging it down in clichés.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker



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