This particular writer was a big fan of Michigan post-hardcore quartet Small Brown Bike, so much so that he spent good money before their disbanding on a t-shirt that his girlfriend inadvertently dyed pink in the wash – it nearly spelled the end for the relationship, so fond of the band was said scribe (hi). LaSalle is SBB singer Mike Reed’s new trio, one that finds him delivering his full-of-character and forceful vocals alongside those of his wife Katy; drummer Dan Jaquint makes up the numbers.
Never as visceral as SBB’s recorded output – particularly their standout album Dead Reckoning – Expedition Songs sets its sails for surprisingly pop waters to good effect – at times the dual vocals and powerful guitars make a comparison to the Pixies absolutely unavoidable. A dash of pedal steel adds a depth few power trios can plumb, while bass-heavy number ‘Kissinger’ updates the SBB template via Karate’s upbeat output; the lyrical content of ‘The Ancient Mariner Of 1989’ also recalls SBB during their Dead Reckoning phase. The Katy-led songs suffer rather from being a little airy in comparison to the ones Mike takes control of, but the contrast is a welcome one over eleven songs that rarely dip too low so far as pop-rock quality goes.
Recommended for anyone previously into SBB, or that ever had any affection for Burning Airlines or Jawbreaker, and almost enough to forget about that stray red knickers incident…
7Mike Diver's Score