When a band takes over two years to follow up its debut album, most would anticipate no less than a full-length record -- and a damn good one at that. Dead to Me has admittedly failed at meeting the first part of those expectations by only crafting enough songs for an EP, but whatever is lacking in quantity, they've easily satisfied with the quality of the songs. Little Brother is a rock album made by punk dudes, and opener "Don't Wanna" throws out two quick cymbal hits and it's off, a good representative of what's to come -- all propulsive drumbeats and charging guitars bolstering spirited, somewhat rough vocals that spout lyrics of disillusionment, vulnerability, and, somewhere in all that, hope as well. The band's familiar melodic Cali punk drives this brisk set, and the only song that stands out as markedly different is the title track, which relatively slows things down at the midway mark with shuffling ska upstrokes, a lackadaisical bassline, and background harmonies that culminate in a nice singsongy chorus. Dead to Me's sense of melody and their ability to write basic, catchy songs shines through in all five tracks, and that's what ultimately makes this EP so enjoyable. Little Brother is a natural second step from that first spirited album -- though one that doesn't stray too far from the original blueprint -- and even if it doesn't suggest much innovation in the future, it's hard to find fault. Actually, the only complaint that can really be tossed Dead to Me's way is that they're teasing fans; those who liked 2006's Cuban Ballerina will listen to this EP and then anxiously ask for more.
|Label:||Fat Wreck Chords|