This may sound weird: It’s sometimes better to forget what got you into a band in the first place, especially when raging fire and uncontained electricity are replaced with a hand-warming smolder and reliable indoor lighting. Critically, it’s unfair for me to return to the head-and-rock space of their first couple of 7”s and lament that that boat’s sailed. Smalltown’s more introspective and musically slower now, with frequent incorporations of reggae, but all in a style that’s immediately recognizable as them. I can’t say that this 10” lit my head on fire like a match, but like really hot water, I’m slowly adjusting, inch by body inch, dipping into Smalltown’s new musical pool. Side A is four originals. Side B has covers of The Strike, The Statues, and Elvis Costello. The packaging on this 10” is gorgeous: die-cut “rising sun” cover and delicious-looking red vinyl. Sneaker hit or just a sleeper? Only time and more spins—which I’m more than willing to give them—will tell.
–todd (Pirate’s Press)