Review: Small Town Hero / Voice of Reason

Small Town Hero / Voice of Reason
““Things to do in Connecticut when you are dead””
(Triple Crown Records)

A handful of songs from two decent indie rock bands.  Small Town Hero has a great bass pushed sound and dual vocals (one screams a lot in the background) while the upfront singer has an almost Jawbox tone to their delivery with a more raspy tint.  Small Town Hero construct driving rock songs with dashes of the punk and rock and give a serious performance here.  The drums could do a little more than ride the same beat as the bass generally commands a lot of attention and compelling guitars push the idea of strumming the chords with a heavy hand.  When Small Town Hero work the dual vocals and the guitars get all tense and dramatic they find their niche most genuinely.  The lengthy (6:32) opening of, “Checkmate” shows this entire range in one song.  SMT are also adept at turning out a single strummed chord into a building block which the rest of the music plays in and around.  “Bluechip” has a nice chunkier feel (but there is a cymbal on this track this is just mic’d wrong or is just a bad cymbal because its all I can focus on).  The best part of Small Town Hero is their bass player and vocal dynamics and notable is their ability to breakdown a tricky bass driven verse.  They need a new drummer, but their direction is promising especially since they’ve only logged in a couple of years (formed in 1998).  I’ll check back in an album or so.  A Voice of Reason also utilizes a driven rock vibe with punk undertones and emotionally charged delivery.  The hooks are stronger, but suffering from “I’ve heard this before” syndrome.  With the bass breakdowns, the punk rock sing alongs are easy enough, maybe a little too easy.  “Lies as Tall as Skyscrapers” cranks up the tempo in the punk rock vein.  And the 1:28 long “Hybrid Moments” sticks like a Connecticut high school kids version of a Ramone’s song.  The last track “Like Static Heart” was totally unexpected.  A pleasant effect laden drum machine beat backed by sweet acoustic and dreamy girl obsessed lyrics.  Not sure how this fits into the scheme of the band, but its a notable effort.  Both of these bands are dripping with potential and its forces itself up through the cracks of the generally used ideas they are constructing their songs from.  Lyrically, both of these offerings were sincere enough and the occasional flash of idea picked up otherwise standard good indie rock.