The Atlanta-based quartet Small Reactions have released their third album full of their distinctive self-dubbed “nerve pop” (which attempts to blend post-punk with indie rock) on New Age Soul.
The band brings together their vast musical interest and knowledge to create distinctive indie-pop earworms, with each song having a unique individual character. This style of music has seen the band enjoy supporting slots for acts such as Mac DeMarco, Portugal. The Man and Surfer Blood.
The album’s ridiculously beautiful and euphonious lead single “Police State” is a great example of the band’s bricolage technique. The song sounds like a ‘60s-era Dylan track that has been acid washed over by a My Bloody Valentine or Primal Scream instrumental and is capped by a marked and honeyed chorus “, If you really wanted to feel/What it’s like to walk in my shoes/Don’t take it as a compliment/You’re just a visitor”. The song was the best choice for a lead single.
The other three singles on the album, “New Age Soul”, “Park Place”, and “Speak and Dress”, all showcase the versatility yet distinctness of Small Reactions. “New Age Soul” is a vibrant and somewhat standard indie rock song, with some noticeable post-punk-esque low mixed background vocals; “Park Place” is a more sombre but still auspicious and reserved tune; and “Speak and Dress” is a sexy-as-hell new wave and post-rock-esque diddy. Yet despite their differences, all four singles released (as well as the album tracks, particularly “Faces”, “Suffer My Heart”, and “There Is a Light”) maintain very high standards of catchiness and alluringness.
New Age Soul is a masterful piece of pop work that, if given the proper exposure, attention and circulation, could make Small Reactions into one of today’s biggest indie darlings. The best thing that could be said is that no two songs on the album sound the same. Yet, the entire album has a consistent continuity throughout (mainly defined by the songs’ choruses’ abilities to wedge right into your brain) that distinguishes it as an entire entity.
Hopefully, in some small part, this review could serve to shine some spotlight on Small Reactions’ music because it is well worth your time and attention.