Music Reviews

Small Brown Bike

Nail Yourself to the Ground

No Idea

Nail Yourself to the Ground is the latest from Michigan rockers Small Brown Bike, and while only a five song EP, this is by far their best release. The songs are mature and complicated in both lyric and structure, and the melodies are absolutely contagious.

This EP finds Small Brown Bike sounding somewhat like Elliot, as the vocal arrangements soar and flutter in the upper atmosphere of sound. Vocalist Travis Dopp has come into his own. His voice no longer seems to be straining to reach notes; they now seem to come to him naturally. His lyrics and delivery will no doubt give these guys the dreaded “emo” tag, but Small Brown Bike is far above any such simple label.

Songs such as “Familiar to You” really showcase how diverse their sound has become. At times, the guitars are crushing and overpowering, atop big, bassy drums. At other times they twinkle and make beautiful little tunes. Hints of label-mates Hot Water Music can be found on this track, especially in the backing vocals. The bass guitar is ringy and very overdriven, but it sounds warm at the same time – a rather difficult sound to pull off well. “Blank Landscapes” is an anthem of sorts, opening with a gritty bass line. The chorus is a total romp of excitement and musical passion, and gets lodged in your head immediately.

In short, this EP is simply fantastic. I just wish it was longer. Fans of math rock will enjoy this, as will fans of more mature “emotional” post-punk. This one has owned my CD player of late, and I’m having a hard time taking it out.

No Idea Records:

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