What a perfect idea for a split—to combine a Japanese band with a Swedish one who’re both approaching music in similar ways. Practice wear the Clash influence a bit more obviously, but it doesn’t matter. They come across neither as an extended Clash medley nor do they sound like they’re just rearranging the ashes of long-ago written songs. It’s fun, great stuff. Fourteen songs down, from a slew of 7”s and splits, Smalltown has done no wrong. They make water-tight unpretentious, instantly likeable yet stronger on repeated listens songs. “Fifteen” is an ode to turning off the TV and going for a walk and “Jimmy” is a cover of the neo-mod band, The Purple Hearts. Great stuff that fans of prime Jam and Stiff Little Fingers would sit up and pay immediate attention to. What’s odd about Smalltown is that they don’t come off as a revival band. They’ve studied the past and sheared off the best parts, but have their fingers on a map that’s leading them into places few bands have ever found. I’m not sure how they do it. That’s why I’m all ears.
–todd (Snuffy Smile)