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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 Arms Dealer
A Single Unifying Theory
Deep Elm

Rating: 7/10 ?

March 16, 2006
A quintet hailing from Long Island, Small Arms Dealer was formed from the remains of Revelation Records' artists On the Might of Princess and a couple other local acts (Contra, Explosivo!), and from the first blast of the band's debut, A Single Unifying Theory, they fucking rip. The album's opener, "A Fire in the Mine," is hyper and tight and makes me want to punch holes in the plaster walls that surround me. Aggressive and melodic, Small Arms Dealer spend most of their time unleashing fist-pumping anthems that are refreshingly free of pretentious posturing and sappy emo wanking.

Upon first listen, the album is a rush from start to finish. The group only stops briefly to let a soft acoustic number, "My Headlocks Are (Crazy)," waltz off the leash. Usually the acoustic numbers are the love songs, but with a refrain of "we're all gonna burn in hell," it is obvious that Small Arms Dealer are not following any formulas. The group gets additional points for implementing an ironic use of the famous "Guitar!" shout out just before the guitar solo.

The album has its bright spots, like "Scumbagsville, CT" and "What Would Bruce Cambell Do?," and is a good listen anytime you want to work out some energy, but it's not without its shortcomings. While I initially loved this album, my excitement dropped considerably after a dozen or so listens, which I attribute mostly to the fact that the album is full of wicked hooks, but the lyrics are really inane. Substance man, substance - Small Arms Dealer has got to learn to back up the beef with some lyrical depth and creativity. There's a propensity to fucking say "fuck" a lot, which is ok, but between that and singing about vampires and werewolves it all seems kind of juvinile and ultimately pointless after a while.

Lyrics aren't everything, and Small Arms Dealer have the musical bases covered. But I'd like to see them step it up a bit. At the moment the New Yorkers appear torn between deciding if they are a good time, head-banging party band, or an angry, balls-to-the-wall kick-ass rock band. I'm anxious to see which route they take in the future.

Reviewed by Dan Williams
A staff writer based in Brooklyn, New York, Dan Williams is a frequent contributor to LAS magazine. He once lived in Köln, Germany for a semester, is currently persuing his MBA in New York, and recently switched sides and began working as a publicist for Special Ops Media in New York.

See other reviews by Dan Williams



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