It’s amazing how the word “emo” went from meaning emotional hardcore to basically a codeword for all that is bad and whiny in the realm of punk rock. You can’t blame the original bands who started the trend, because they really had no say in who listened and decided to start crappy bands based on one facet of their sound. Do you think members of Rites Of Spring or Embrace could have predicted some of the junk that would come under the name of emo?
Small Brown Bike are not one of the horrible emo bands — in fact, they are quite good, and during their original run released a bunch of great records that puts them more in line with the original emotional hardcore bands than with anything Victory Records has tried to sell people in the past decade.
So here we are, with a new record — with the original line-up — recorded by J. Robbins. Expectations are high to say the least. The good news is that this is a great comeback by the band, playing to their strengths and revealing a more melodic side to their sound. So score one in the win column. It’s definitely recommended for longtime fans and for anybody who wants to know what real emotional hardcore is about.
(No Idea Records, PO Box 14636, Gainesville, FL, 23604-4636)